Good Day Friends! I pray your week and weekend went well! Did you have the opportunity to share some of your time this past week with your parent(s): both earthly and heavenly? (An action item from last week’s devotion.)
Last week, I began sharing about my reflections on family. I spoke about the depth of a parent’s love for their child. Although the love of a parent for a child may be the deepest, it is not the relationship that should be the primary focus within a family.
Let’s top up our coffee’s and I’ll explain….
The Order of Things
…A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6
The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them. Proverbs 20:7
At this point in my life, both of my parents are with the Lord, as well as two of my siblings. My children are grown and building their own lives and families. Many days it is just Rick and I, and I am so thankful for his companionship. However, when our children were young, it was easy to get caught up in the craziness of their lives and well beings. Time spent on our marriage could have easily been spent on the kids and other family obligations. In fact, some moms, whom I knew with children the same age as ours, focused strictly on the responsibility of raising their children. They felt their relationship and responsibility to their children was the top priority, and their relationship with their husband was secondary; that their marriage would ‘just happen’. Unfortunately, this way of thinking is not healthy for you, your marriage, your children, nor your relationship with the Lord. In fact, God commands us to first and foremost love and nurture our relationship with Him above all things. Then if we are married and have children, we are to love our spouses and nurture our marriages, and finally, together, love and nurture our children.
First of all, by personally loving the Lord first you are nurturing your relationship with Him. You are seeking His will for your life, your marriage, your spouse’s life, your children’s lives and seeking God’s guidance on being the spouse and parent He desires you to be. Your time dedicated to the Lord – devotions, corporate worship services, group Bible studies, prayer meetings or private conversations throughout the day – are all opportunities to entrust your life to Him. In this seeking, He always blesses.
Secondly, the commitment to marriage and family is first a commitment to God. To deny your commitment to them is to deny your commitment to God. Worshiping the Lord as a couple is so beneficial for each of you, your marriage, and your children. In so doing, you also witness to others the intimate bond of God’s grace in your own life and in your family’s life. Then, by nurturing your relationship with your spouse, you are building that bond and union of friendship and commitment to tackle whatever life may throw at you and your family. You and your spouse are on the same team, although at times it may not seem that way with miscommunication, disagreements, frustration and opposing opinions. It is actually during these times of discourse and resolve, when you and your spouse display the gifts of repentance and forgiveness; that your children observe and learn of unconditional love from an objective view point. Your relationship with your spouse and with the Lord is a witness to those around you but especially to your children. It is in these times that you are teaching them some of the hardest and most important lessons of life. Arguments happen. Sinful acts happen. But it is our response to each other in the midst of these events from which our children see and learn how to respond to similar situations in their own life.
So many people give up when things get tough in a marriage. It is easier to give up. However, by taking your concerns to the Lord, communicating with your spouse, making each other accountable, seeking help, and working through things, you are teaching your children what it means to be a Godly spouse and parent, and it involves love, grace, and in times of arguments, mercy, repentance, empathy and forgiveness. You are teaching them perseverance, self-sacrifice, and joy in the midst of suffering. There is no relationship you will have that will affect your children more than your relationship with your spouse.
Finally, in raising your children, there is no better way than to know God is guiding your decisions. In those times where you fall short, He forgives you your shortcomings, and in His humility, you are able to seek your children’s forgiveness. Also, by having a united front with your spouse, as best as possible on this side of heaven, you can raise your children to the best of your combined ability in everyday tasks, as well as, raise them to see God active in your life as your friend and Saviour. There is no better witness that encourages them to seek the Lord, and walk securely in their own relationship with the Lord, than watching you quietly walking with and trusting Him daily.
Putting God, spouse, and children in their rightful order in your life nurtures and strengthens all these relationships for their good. May God bless you as you do so!
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, you have given me instructions for the order of relationships in my life. You desire me to seek You first above all things, and I know that there is no better, trustworthy, faithful friend than You. Help me to grow in that trust, and to seek you throughout my day. Also, help me to love my spouse and to be his/her support and partner this day in whatever may arise. Finally, help us together, to be whom you need us to be for our children, …. and our family and friends. Guide our hearts and minds to be one with You. In Jesus’ Name I pray. AMEN!
Reflection: If you currently are out of sync with any or all of these relationships, take time to reflect on one thing you, personally, can do to begin making things right. Begin with a change that involves only you. Do not force any change upon any of your family members. Right now this is between you and God, and He will affect others according to His will. Pray for His guidance as you try to make this change.