If there is a book that helped me with parenting it would be Gary Thomas’ book entitled—you guessed it: Sacred Parenting. The message of this book goes beyond the idea that we can learn something by watching children. It insists that the “process of parenting is one of the most spiritually formative journeys a man and a woman can ever undertake.”
The Spiritual Journey of Motherhood
When I first found out that I was pregnant with my first son, Isaiah I had an idea of what kind of parent I wanted to be. I wanted to be an intuitive parent—a parent who will never impose on her child, who will be patient with his needs, and who will accept everything about him. I was so excited to raise him what I felt was the “best way”. It was all about how I wanted to raise him.
Fast forward to seven years later, plus three more children, that idea is but a distant memory. Being a mother made me feel love in places I never knew existed, but at the same time, motherhood unearthed a lot of incredibly harmful misconceptions I had about intuitive parenting—that is, if it were grounded by my own emotions.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that The Holy Bible was written by men who were divinely inspired. And in it is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God as its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all of Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world as the true center of Christian union. For me, the Bible is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Standing and living on this truth gave me a deeper understanding and a profound meaning on parenting my children based on the infallible truth of The Bible. Even so, I still consider myself an intuitive parent by making sure I am sensitive to my children’s very different personalities and in my dealings with each of them. But I also know that as their mother, my duty and obligation is to “train” them for their future.
Raising My Children Spiritually
“Train up a child in the way they should go and even when he is old he will not turn away from it”
– Proverbs 22:6
This is probably one of the most popular parenting bible verses out there—and rightfully so, since it speaks volumes about how we as parents should be very vigilant and involved in teaching, living out our faith in front of our children, and in building values and precepts that will guide them throughout their adult years. The goal, after all, is to mold them into the kind of men and women armed with a character that is grounded in the truth.
Given this, we are responsible in teaching our children about what matters to God. This does not mean that we should force them into a certain set of beliefs or rituals, but rather, it means demonstrating a real faith—one that puts focus on loving God and others. To me, there is no greater purpose in life than by reflecting God’s image for our children to see. Our children will learn about the world around them and their role in it. If they don’t learn from us, they will learn from someone else. Thus, it’s our responsibility to use our time with our kids wisely.
Chapter 3 in Sacred Parenting would be one of my most favorite chapters. It talks about “the hardest hurt of all”—or simply about how raising children teaches us to value character and service over comfort. This chapter reminded me of Hebrews 12:11, which says: “for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
In the chapter, Gary Thomas shares his friend’s thoughts about children today. His name’s Jim and he makes his living working with kids. A former school teacher, he now heads up a large college ministry. Because of this, Jim has a front-row seat for observing the fruit of today’s parenting styles.
According to Jim, “this is the first generation of kids where their parents were hyper-vigilant advocates at every point. If the kids didn’t get enough playing time, the coach heard about it. Everybody assumes their kid is special, at least above average.” But he also confessed that he has struggled with this and has on some occasions even committed the same mistakes he sees other parents making.
On Discipline and Unfailing Love
“Out of love for our children, we must become strong enough spiritually to watch them hurt, to see them become disappointed, to hear their cries. Otherwise, we risk raising safe and compliant kids with an empty core”
– Gary Thomas, Scared Parenting
Disciplining my children is not always the easiest process to go through, but I tell myself that the pain of today shall bear the fruit of a strong character that can withstand trials and tribulations.
Another way that the gospel transforms our parenting is by revealing how short we fall from God’s glory (Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory). This helps us cling to Christ as we navigate through this beautiful journey of parenting.
But even in this beautiful and spiritual journey, there have been times when we have failed our kids. We get unrighteously angry at them. We fail to love them as we should. We fail to give them grace even though we praise God for His grace. But I believe that in Christ, there is always fresh new mercies each morning, and in those moments, we get to try again. We may fail our children at times but The Lord’s unfailing love and grace shall sustain them.
For me Sacred Parenting is the complete surrender to the perfect work of Christ on the cross some 2000 years ago. A spiritual experience filled with learning. And this, I hope to impart on all my four children, along with the fifth baby I have coming along the way.
Wife to Miquel Aguilar, mother to 4 boys: Isaiah, Daniel, Michael and Moses. Believer of Jesus Christ. Her enthusiasm with skin care lead to a local brand called Bloom & Topiary. And her love for God lead her to be a part of a ministry called At The Well.
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