A glimpse of my parenting perspective

As I have walked through life I have met a lot of people that have pain from their childhoods.  For a variety of reasons, whether traumatic or not, things happened in their youth which they have carried with them into their adulthood.  Often times their parenting styles take on nuances designed to prevent the same type of pain from occurring in their own children's lives.  The goal for them becomes creating a world where their children will be pain free.  While I, myself, have tried this and see the good aspects to it there can also be negative aspects to it as well. This style of parenting is primarily fear-motivated and ends up ignoring the role of the enemy in our lives, how to effectively fight him and how to receive healing from inevitable pain.  Also, this style of parenting can cause parents to be frustrated with themselves and feel like failures because they eventually do fall into the very patterns they are trying to avoid.  The past 8 years of my Christianity I have spent a lot of time allowing God to heal a variety of wounds in my heart.  As I have done that, I have learned more about God's heart toward me and about the enemy's strategies.  I feel like this part of my journey has also changed the way I feel about parenting.

Instead of having "avoiding pain" as our parenting goal, our goal as parents should be to train our children to see Jesus and to know how to access His TRUTH to find healing from pain. My children are still relatively young so in our lives this often translates to ending time-outs in prayer. I have learned in my own life that I cannot do the things I want or need to do without the help of Jesus and that I need to ask for His help. I've also learned that He is more than GENEROUS in providing help in my time of need. My children and I often come into His presence and learn how to rely on Him to move on from our places of need.

Formerly, I thought my goal was to be "Jesus" to my kids; that by looking through me and my life they would then be able to see God.  While the intent of my heart was good, the results were not.  This perspective often caused me to fall into anger and frustration at myself when I failed because I was not able to provide a perfect picture of God.  But God showed me one day that I don't need to be perfect, He had already provided the perfect mediator and that I kept getting in the way.  The following is what I have been learning since that day and applying in my own life.  I am not perfect.  If my children look through me first to see God there will ALWAYS be imperfection in the way and it will blur their picture of God.  How often have you heard people say they cannot understand the Father heart of God because they had an imperfect father here on earth?  The problem comes in because we are translating God first through our human perspective.  This model of parenting goes: 

Kids (see) Parents (then see) God. 
The result of this sytle of parenting is a skewed perspective of God. 

I truly believe our goal instead is to direct our children to see Jesus and see Jesus first:

Kids (see) Jesus (see) God. 

Where are we in all of this.  We are NEXT to our kids looking at Jesus. 

Hebrews 12:2a
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

We do not need to be the stepping stone to God for our children.  He is more than able to meet them directly.  Instead, we need to teach and train our children to see Jesus and to see the world as Jesus sees it.

How does Jesus see the world? "He (the enemy) has come to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a)."  But Jesus also says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to abundance (John 10:10b)."  Your children WILL have pain in this life because the enemy still exists.  If your goal as a parent is to help them avoid pain at all costs then you will end up being very frustrated because it is an impossible goal. 

What does this style of parenting look like? For me it has been:
  1. Being vulnerable with God and allowing Him to heal my heart in many areas. 
  2. To learn what spiritual warfare looks like and learning how to fight it. 
  3. To take these lessons and principles I've learned and apply them practically with my children.
  4. Letting go of the concept of trying to raise children who will never experience pain.
  5. My goal instead is to raise warriors who recognize how to fight and when the pain does come, even from me, that they know who and where they can ALWAYS go to find safety and healing.
God has not asked us to be perfect parents.  He has asked us to point the way to Him, the perfect FATHER.  For me the safest place to do this from has been next to my kids, down on my knees instead of standing between Him and them.

(As a bonus: If the pain from your childhood has skewed your perspective of God, take the source of the pain out of the way and put the cross between you and them.  They weren't meant to be there in the first place.  The best step to find healing in that instance is to have YOU then THE CROSS and then the source of pain).

In Christ,


  1. This is the lady who emailed you about the black background. I highlighted everything copied it to a temporary file and read it there, then deleted it. Hope this is Ok; it was the only way to read the post.

    You really hit the nail on the head about putting Christ in the middle and in between. Many parents who were abuse continue the abuse because they do not get healing or overcome it. My father was abused during his childhood and continued the abuse as a parent. It took God a while to get through to me because my father used the Bible to justify his abusive behavior. He was sexually, physically and emotionally abusive.

    Painful past abuse is something that has to be given over each time it raises its head up. We saw a movie call “Amish Grace” about forgiveness. It has a lot of good things to say about healing from horrible events that occur in life. Part of healing from the past is about forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about pardoning sin, or saying what happened was OK but that you no longer allow it to have a hold on your life. You are releasing all the hurt to God and letting Him work it the justice.

    It is true about parenting out of fear I was scared to death. However, as you said, once I learned to allow God to be my father, I could learn how to be a parent. We can only impart to our children what we learn at the feet of Christ. The key is to learn not to avoid pain but acknowledge it and confront it. It is like the glass half full or half empty idiom, to deny one part is to deny both. Pain, trials, etc are a part of life, it is in the overcoming that we gain healing.

    Scriptures speaks that we are to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. On preacher stated, if you cannot mourn with those who mourn you have no right to rejoice with them when they rejoice. Jesus wept with Mary and Martha even though He knew Lazarus was about to be raised from the dead. Pain is part of a grieving process. Abuse is never right, evil happens, the process is to allow God to heal the hurts from such events, one day at a time or one moment at a time, until it no longer has a hold on you.

    As you said our goal as parents is to teach our children how to seek Christ in all things.
    Mrs. J.

  2. Laura DunnMarch 19, 2011

    This was very powerful to read - thank you for sharing this - Love, Laura


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