God's Mercy | Intentional Mothering

When Choosing to Parent From the Bible Makes Things Awkward.

November 1, 2015


Following Christ in this world is not easy. We will find things challenging, painful and lonely. And, as I am beginning to see, raising children as Christian parents is not exempt area of our lives.

I’ve had some painful experiences recently that have just left me feeling hurt, isolated and clinging to my husband as my true best friend {the best kind of result, don’t you say?}. These experiences were not malicious nor were the words said intentionally hurtful. But they have left me disappointed, saddened with the lack of confidence {and lack of knowledge} in the Bible as the authority on parenting, and frankly, like we are some weird set of parents.

My chest has been feeling heavy and I’ve been seeking God, asking him why I feel just so darned alone. Even among Christians, I can feel different. Why is this? I ask Tim. We all love God, so shouldn’t we be of the same heart, of the same mind? Shouldn’t all Christian parenting look similar? Why is it, even in the Church, that the world’s changing philosophies are more obviously used than principles from the Bible?

A verse came up in my wondering this week and it was sobering:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” ~Matthew 7:13-14


Friends, if our hearts are in Christ, if he is who weΒ are pursuing above all else, we are just going to have to accept that we are going to be different. In everything. Even, if not most starkly, in parenting.

I am not saying that we know the most perfect, godliest way of parenting. We seriously don’t. Even if we did, we couldn’t implement it, we are too broken with pride, impatience, anger, distraction etc. If any of us were perfect parents, we wouldn’t need Christ. And if you’ve been a parent more than one minute, you know how much you need him to help with this big, big job.

However, I do believe that, just like in all areas of life where Christ takes over as King, parenting in a biblical way won’t be normal. It will be different. It will be counter-cultural, harder, more self-refining, more rewarding and more God-glorifying. Biblical parenting doesn’t come in the latest book on the Top 20 shelf at your local book store. It’s as old as Moses, whom God used to show us all so clearly how hard it is to measure up. {NB. I’ve just finished reading Leviticus and just started Numbers. God is a holy God, people. I forget so easily how abhorrent my sin is. How easy it is to be complacent and think, Christ makes me holy so I don’t need to try very hard.}

“Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” ~ Philippians 2:2

Biblical parenting can incorporate a broad spectrum of practicalities. Some parents will have firm discipline, some will lean towards more attachment parenting; some will sleep train, others will co-sleep; some will have less concern over different school curricula, others will keep their children home from certain activities and groups. In many ways, these sort of aspects shouldn’t matter between families, and we should make our family the matter of our own attention and judgement rather than another. What should matter, as Christian parents, is that we have the same mind and same purpose as each other: that we can acknowledge in ourselves and to each other that God and his word are at the focus of our parenting.Β 

  • Are we keeping aware of the sin that lurks in our children’s hearts?
  • In our disciplining, are we seeking to make our children aware of why they are doing what they are doing?
  • Are we being too soft?
  • Are we being too harsh?
  • Are we keeping the Cross in our minds as we guide our children away from lawlessness?
  • Are we intentionally being careful of what philosophies we listen to?
  • Are practical parenting books we read in line with what the Bible teaches about our world, our fallen state, our need for redemption, our hope for the life to come?
  • Are our choices influenced by our peers, our society, our own need for approval?

Friends, the answers to these questions are not always easy to face. They can show where we have been going wrong – not just in how we parent, but how we are behaving ourselves. Though it may not seem like it, God is being merciful when he shows us the idols we have created in our hearts and minds.

When we face the truth, we can see that the way is narrow. The way to true parenting is a harder, more socially awkward path. There will be times where we fit in with the crowd fairly comfortingly. But many other times, we will stick out like a sore thumb. We will feel alone, weird and awkward. Yet, we know, that this narrow path promises us a real, authentic, incredible life. And we know we are not alone.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” ~ Romans 8:31

  1. “When we face the truth, we can see that the way is narrow. The way to true parenting is a harder, more socially awkward path.” Ouch. But needed. This is a struggle I am currently facing with my first (“learner”) child as she, at almost 17, enters the world of dating. I hear the words of God to the Israelites telling them, “You have never been this way before.” Thank you for challenging me to take the hard narrow path that ultimately leads to life. Stopping by from Mommy Moments.

  2. “If any of us were perfect parents we wouldn’t need Christ” Yes, so true. Parenting should make us run harder after Christ and search the Bible more diligently to lead us and guide us down this difficult path. There is no one fits all size in parenting but we all as Christians should want the same most important thing for our children…for them to grow up in the truth and live their lives in God’s will and for his glory. You are not alone…:)

  3. This is so tough- often times when I find myself thinking super negatively about a parenting style or the way someone else does things… at the root is my pride. I feel judged by them because I do things differently, or that they are looking down their noses at me. Which is ridiculous- we think about ourselves way more than other people do! Remembering that even if others are judging me, I stand before God alone is both humbling and empowering. Parenting is the toughest thing I have ever done, and I know I am getting a lot wrong. It’s good in that it keeps us humble and dependent on the Lord. Love those “good results” of feeling awkward- clinging to husband and Christ ;)!

    1. It’s a fine line and one where I KNOW I fail at. I have pride in my heart, I know, and I am trying to keep my eyes on my own family and where God is leading us. At the same time, like Veronica says above, we’re called to be set apart and in raising the next generation, we must surely be different to this world around us. Love you Rachel, keeping me grounded πŸ™‚ x

  4. I can completely understand this. Especially as your children get older and your stances become more obvious in lifestyle differences and choices. The looks you get increase and your “friends” do decrease as you chose to say “no” to many activities. But it is so worth it! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

  5. I never realized how secular our parenting methods were until I truly became a believer and dove into The Word as the ultimate authority in our lives. My eyes were opened, and I found that much of what I thought was “harmless” was contrary to God’s instruction. It’s easy to go along with “mainstream” Christianity and think that we’re doing okay as long as we go to church and get the kids involved in kid church activities. The challenge comes when we take the time to find out what God has to say about our decisions, and we realize that in order to follow Him, we must swim upstream. πŸ˜‰ Parenting, just like anything else, WILL look different; it should look different. We are called to be set apart. Yes, the road is narrow, but our God is so merciful and such a wonderful shepherd. He leads us, guides us, and equips us every step of the way. Thank you for sharing your heart. ((HUGS))

  6. Hello Sara, I have stumbled upon your blog from strangers and pilgrims link up. I have read a bunch of your posts and honestly got tears in my eyes. All I keep thinking when reading your posts is ”she gets it! Finally someone gets it!” I feel so alone in my parenting and even life in general. I am what I call a ”hard core” Christian, one who seeks God’s truth in everything, not the wishy washy Christianity that keeps one foot in God’s word and one in society’s word. Therefore, I feel I only really have one true friend who is on the same page, and she is always too busy with her children’s ministry for any real fellowship. So I feel very alone, my husband is not even a true christian yet, he believes in God and the Bible but that’s as far as he goes. I became a believer after we married. But we do have a huge, huge, extended family so there is never a lack of friendship per se but none of them are Christian. So I just keep my head up and keep on keepin on :). I struggle with anxiety much like yours and it interferes with my homemaking abilities. I too can get caught in the lazy trap. God has also been on my heart to take my parenting ”to the next level” if you will. I have a 16 yr old who i need to start limiting her social media, and a four yr old i am going to start homeschooling which is also a new scary venture. So I have been praying to find a blog that is right on spot where I am in life for some encouragement. ………I believe God has answered my prayers. I find so much comfort and encouragement in your blog. You have blessed me move than you will ever know. I am sure you will see me commenting on just about every post. Thank you for putting your heart and time into this blog.

    1. Danielle,

      Your comment was such a lovely way to start my morning. You’ve encouraged me too, sometimes I wonder why I keep blogging. I am so grateful to God that he uses my thoughts and passions for his glory in other peoples’ lives.

      I am really sorry that you feel so lonely. That is really, really hard. Are you connected in a good, Bible-teaching church? In a bible study? I know they aren’t the solutions to your feelings of isolation, but they might help. We are to be connected in a church. Yet, we also have to do what we feel God is asking of us – focusing on our family. I don’t get to many church things other than Sunday because I’m trying to balance my kid’s lives.

      Keep pressing into God and spending time with him. Keep praying for your husband – I KNOW from experience that deep, heartfelt prayers to God on behalf of our husband’s are heard and answered in His time. Don’t nag your husband, just love him and live YOUR life for God. It is SO hard, but that’s the best way to be a witness for your husband {1 Peter 3:1}.

      I will be praying for you and really looking forward to connecting with you on here. Big hugs x

      1. Thank you for the encouragement. Yes, I am connected with a good church, but due to work obligations, (I am an RN) I have not been going. But God has been calling me to quit working ( I was working everty weekend) and focus on my family. My husband has been wanting this for a while also. So we now will be able to go every Sunday morning……yay! My husband wants to go also, so that is a huge step for him.
        I will pray God gives you the strength to keep blogging…..as you are blessing others:-)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge