by Leslie Hollowell
It’s been almost six years since they placed our 10 pound bundle of joy in my arms. I remember the joy and excitement and fear and inadequacy that overcame me in the next few days as I sought to understand how to parent this little guy. I remember reading books and mommy blogs and sitting with some amazing moms as I sought advice and wisdom. This was all absolutely wonderful and yet, at the same time, completely overwhelming. How in the world could I do it all?
To be as honest as I can be, the more I heard from people, the more I became overwhelmed and anxious. It wasn’t that all of the advice wasn’t wonderful, (well most of it was) but, for me, I needed a simplistic parenting strategy to begin implementing that was based on Scripture and easy for my foggy momma brain to comprehend. So one morning, I got alone with the Lord and my Bible, (the best parenting book out there) and asked Him to simplify things for me, and here is what He gave to me.
P IS FOR PARENTING
PRAY- Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on All occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be Alert and always keep on praying…”
As I read this verse, I was reminded to PRAY on “all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” As parents, we are faced with so many decisions, struggles, and uncertainties for our kids. I love that Paul tells us to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. We can pray about lost toys as well as for God to give them kind friends at school. We can pray about bad attitudes and also fear of the dark. We can pray for them to have joyful hearts and a love for God’s Word. There is NOTHING we can’t pray about. And I love that this verse ends with and always keep on praying!
PLAY- Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine…”
It’s so easy for us as moms to become overcome with the demands of life, but I am learning the beauty and importance of taking time to play with my son. The joy of seeing him giggle and laugh as I run through the sprinkler with him or jump on the trampoline, or dig in the dirt brings peace and smiles and reminders that this season isn’t going to last long, but the laundry will be there forever. So don’t forget, a cheerful/playful heart really is good medicine!
PLANT- 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”
God’s Word has so much to say about planting seed. In Mark 4 Jesus refers to the sowing and planting of seeds, as truth from God’s Word. My momma heart wants to plant as many seeds from Scripture in my son’s heart as possible, while also striving to uproot the weeds that the world wants to plant. I’ve found that this doesn’t happen by accident. We must strive to be intentional in helping our kids know the beauty of Scripture. One of the things I’ve also realized is how important it is to pray, as I plant, for the Apollos’ in my son’s life. These will be men and women that will come along and help water those seeds; teachers and mentors and Godly influences who will continue to pour into his life. Oh how important the Apollos’ are! And lest we carry the burden of thinking it is all up to us, the end of 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, “but God made it grow.”
PUNISH- Proverbs 23:13 says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child…”
As hard as this one is, God’s Word has so much to say about disciplining and punishing and training our children. We have a saying in our home (that I heard years ago from a two year old) which says, “OBEDIENCE BRINGS BLESSINGS, BUT DISOBEDIENCE BRINGS PAIN.” I pray often that God will give us the wisdom and discernment we will need to help our son know that consequences are inevitable when he is disobedient because God longs for our obedience. But, we also long for him to know that with obedience there are beautiful blessings!
PROTECT/PREPARE- Psalm 5:11 says, “But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.”
I placed protect and prepare together on my list, because in real honesty, I would like to put my son in a bubble and protect him from the evil that is prevalent in this world. But that’s not what we as parents are called to do. Yes, there are many things I long to protect him from at all costs, and that has made me seek to be aware of the way the enemy strives to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Yet, protection from the world, without preparation for what he might encounter in years to come would be a disservice to him. I long to prepare him to love his neighbor as himself, (Mark 12:31) while also reminding him that 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” I am continuing to learn, that as I seek to plant scripture in him, it will both help protect and prepare him in order to “live a life that is worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10). I have such a very long way to go as a parent and that leads me to my final word.
PRAY (because you can never pray too much). Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
I truly believe in the power of prayer. I also realize that there are so many things we as parents face that leave us empty and sad and weak. Often, we don’t even know how or what to pray, so we must let that be our prayer. Meet with your heavenly Father and let Him help in the weakness and the not knowing how to pray! When faced with questions about what to do in a parenting situation, I told my husband the other day, “Well, at this point, I have no idea how to parent, but thankfully, I can pray!”
I am so thankful for the amazing books and mentors and resources that I have as a mom, but I am also grateful for the Truth of God’s Word and how He speaks to us individually through His Word. He knows exactly what we need as mommas! We must choose to get alone with Him and allow Him to speak Truth into our tired, momma hearts! He knows exactly where each of us are and He will meet us there.
Leslie is an Alabama girl who now lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her husband, Ronnie, and their son, Hudson. Leslie considers being a wife and mommy the best job ever having married her husband at 38-years-old and birthing their son at 42-years-old. She is a former elementary school teacher and eventually made her way toward full-time Christian ministry as a girls ministry leader in her church. She is the founder of Beyond the Eye Girls Ministry and travels to speak to local churches leading one-day girls’ conferences. She has a heart for discipleship, mentoring, teaching, and encouraging young women to follow after God with all their hearts.