They got a heritage in Christ.
Prepare the future for them (Inheritance) but don't forget to prepare them for that future.
Psalms 127:4-5 (NIV), “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with the opponents in court.”
September is the month I get to reflect a lot about being a parent and a mum because of our kids' birthdays. The last two years have found me very busy, so I have had to integrate activity with contemplation as I slow down to ponder. No matter what happens like the African proverb says, "there is no stone placed on children, they have to grow."
The psalmist seems to be compelling me to not allow that to just happen but be intentional and aware of the invitation by God to partner with Him to raise His children made in His image.
He calls them "arrows" in the hand of a warrior. This makes me ponder about my role as a warrior holding an arrow.
The warrior does not hold the arrow as a souvenir but so that he/she can release it. The time the arrow is in one's quiver is for preparation, deciding the target, and synergizing to shoot. I get to have an opportunity to be part of realigning, strategizing, equipping, and seeing the target. I get to be a partner with Christ to craft.
Some of the preparation can be painful, and as a parent, we must be willing to allow our kids to develop muscle and stamina to face the world. Parents have a privilege to, together with God, do the crafting of the arrows that God puts in our quivers.
Dennis and Barbra analyze the nature of an arrow. "Any arrow to be useful must have a shaft, fletching (feathers), a nock (the groove at the end of the arrow into which the bowstring fits), and a point. If all of these four are made well, the result is an effective arrow, beautifully designed for impact. These four qualities give us four clear goals to pursue as we craft our children. Nearly every issue or trap our children will encounter can be linked to a young person's need in one of four areas".(Dennis and Barbara, 1998).
1. The arrow's shaft: identity
"The making of a good arrow begins with the shaft. Obviously, since every other part of the arrow must attach to the shaft, this part of the arrow is like a child's identity. If a child's self-concept is warped—not straight and robust—his flight in life may be wobbly" (Dennis and Barbara, 1998).
We must also communicate with our children one of the most important messages they will ever receive—"You are made in the image of God. You are one valuable child."
2. The arrow's feathers: character
Why do arrows have those feathers at the back end?
We get to understand that the feathers or fletching create drag. In that case the arrow is in flight, which keeps the back end of the arrow behind the front end—a pretty
It also stabilizes the arrow as it flies to its target. An arrow without right fletching is undependable and dangerous. If an arrow has the right kind of feathers, properly installed, it will fly straight. We think the character has the same effect on a child(Dennis and Barbara, 1998).How does your child respond to authority and life's challenges? This can only be well-formed if we train and model submission to God and His word.
3. The arrow's nock: relationships
All of the bent-up power in a bow is of no value if it cannot be effectively transferred. That's why every arrow, at the rear of the shaft, has a small groove that holds the bowstring. This is called the nock. The nock keeps the arrow in place on the string until the power is released. The nock can be compared to the third core ingredient necessary in a child's life: relationships. When someone's life intersects with God and with people, a power transfer occurs. None of us was intended to make a journey through life alone. We need the strength, comfort, encouragement, resources, and power provided by God and others (Dennis and Barbara, 1998).
We must cultivate an environment that allows our children to learn relationships as they watch us relate with friends and family. How do we take care of our relationships as parents? How do we present our friends to our kids? Do they even know our friends?
Are we allowing our children to see conflict and how we resolve it? Or are we hoping the schools' will teach them those skills?
We are the professors/ pastors and disciple-makers.
Truth without relationship produces rebellion, Relationship without truth results in self-indulgence in teenagers (Dennis and Barbara, 1998).
4. The arrow's point: mission
Our finely-crafted arrow is nearly complete. Only the front end of the shaft needs a finishing touch—a point. The arrow point reminds us of the last essential quality we want to craft in a child: Every person needs a reason to live, a driving passion or calling that provides meaning and impact. This is a person's mission. We need to ask ourselves, "Have I more passion for the values of this world's system than for the things of God? What are my goals in life—are the ones I want my child to copy?"(Dennis and Barbara, 1998).Many of us keep praying for people to disciple, God will indeed bring us people, but our primary role is to make disciples in our children. How much time are we spending exposing ourselves to God's word, prayer, and teaching them the foundations of Christianity?
Captions adapted from Dennis and Barbara Rainey's book, Parenting Today's Adolescent, Copyright © 1998 Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Once the arrow is ready, it can be shot, and yes, we will trust the Lord to order the steps of it and ensure it hits its target. Each of the children is different, and it's essential to carefully discern how we can nurture who they are becoming and leave the rest to their maker. "Never treat them as a group."
After we have done all that we need to do, we can indeed release them, and with the skillset, we give them believe that they will handle well the lives God has given them. They have choices to make, and we can pray that they can be led by God to make choices.
What values and skills would we love to see in the adult we will have soon? It's only the parents who know, so teach them. Walk with them through your needs and let them see how God answers. Provide choices for some areas in their lives, so they make decisions and see the consequences while offering safety. Walk with them as they suffer the consequences.
Let them be sure that they got your back no matter what.
a) Don't only prepare the future for them but prepare them for the future.
b) Don't only leave a physical inheritance but do invest in their spiritual lives.
b)Teach them about the heritage they have in Christ, which is imperishable.
c)Teach them the sufficiency we have in Christ. Christ is enough for them.
Our total dependence on God for these kids is vital because Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that make it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain. Prayerfully doing what you can and allowing God to do the rest. How they turn out is his responsibility. He alone has the end in mind.
Gillian G Edube.
Enjoy partnership with God.