One late night, I was rocking David to sleep and staring with heavy eyes at the wall in his nursery. On that wall hangs an old reclaimed piece of wood that I painted an arrow on with the Scripture reference Psalm 127:3-5. I gave it to Paul for his birthday several years ago when we first began trying to have children. It has always been special to us and it was sweeter than I could ever explain to be able to hang it in David’s nursery. It reads, “Behold, children are a heritage and gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed [happy and fortunate] is the man whose quiver is filled with them” (AMP).
As I looked at that arrow hanging on his wall like I had done hundreds of times before, I heard the Lord say, “What is the purpose of an arrow?” My immediate response to Him was, “To be shot out.” Bingo. The Lord does not give us a quiver full of arrows so we can hold them tightly and never let them go. Our purpose as parents is to sharpen and mold our children so when the time comes, they can shoot out of our homes with accuracy and power! It is a great honor and responsibility to be able to fashion and teach our children before they go out into the world. I don’t know about you, but I want to shoot some fiery arrows out into this culture!
The thing is, we are not going to magically one day be ready to let them go. There isn't a switch that goes off inside of us on their eighteenth birthday and without any effort, our hearts are prepared for them to leave! We have to practice releasing our children to the Lord every day. It sounds so beautiful to release our well-crafted arrows to change the world, but releasing them daily so they can become independent adults will not always be pretty. It means releasing them to fail and potentially get hurt. Sometimes it might even mean us as parents being embarrassed at our children’s failures. I am not suggesting we let our children just figure it all out on their own. What I am saying is that if every time your child doesn’t prepare for a school project you bail them out and stay up late into the night so they won’t fail, you are not preparing them to fly on their own. It will not be fun, but maybe they need to walk into school with a half-finished project and get a bad grade to learn how to prioritize their responsibilities. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” We can be so concerned with our reputation, our children’s image, and protecting them from any possible pain that we stunt their growth by never letting them fall! That proverb doesn’t say a righteous person might fall, it says that he does. He falls down, not once, but seven times! We learn from falling and then getting back up and trying again. Let your children explore, get messy, and make a few mistakes!
It is a good heart check to remember that our children are not our own. First and foremost, they belong to the Father. This truth relieves so much pressure! It is not all our responsibility to make them great people. We have the Holy Spirit as our Teacher guiding us in how to parent each individual child. We get to sharpen them one day at a time and then see them fly confidently with the wind of the Spirit at their backs.
Father, I pray that I and every momma and daddy reading this will never forget what an honor parenthood is. Guide us as we equip warriors for Your kingdom. We want to raise up confident sons and daughters that know anything is possible with You! Help us to daily release them to You and trust that You know what is best for them. We believe that You are a good Father!