Instructions for Raising a Strong Child

April 20, 2012

in Mothering

I look around the table each morning at all these eyes looking back at me.  And in the rare moments when it’s quiet enough to be honest, I can’t help but shudder a bit at the weight of their lives depending so much on mine and Jason’s.   I can’t help but cry out with Samson’s father:

“O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.”  Judges 13:8

We fill out paper work and references for friends who are adopting and wonder at it…that no one analyzed us or gave us instructions before we left the hospital with these babies.  Where’s the man of God who will teach us what we are to do with these children?

We’ve carried them home (messy as it may be) and fed them (oh, have we fed them) and dressed them (in clean clothes, even!) and taught them to sleep (sometimes) but we know there’s so much more to raising these children than this.

That man of God?  God answered the daddy’s prayer and sent him back to Samson’s parents and he did give the instruction manual…but it was a short one:

‘Do all that I commanded you.’

‘If you prepare an offering, then offer it to the Lord.’

Judges 13:14,16

I wake on a Friday morning, weary from the week behind and humbled by the years ahead.  ‘Tell me Lord, what do I do with these children?  What should be their way of life, what is their mission?’  (Judges 13:12) I open the worn pages of this Bible of mine and find it here-the man of God, Jesus Himself, who’s come to give me instructions.

‘Follow me,’ He says,’and look long at the offering I’ve made for you, for them. I died the death you both deserve, so live!  Live a life of sacrifice for them. Pour out yourself as an offering and I will direct your child’s manner of life, I will give your child a mission.’

We join hands around the table once again, the kids have found at least one outfit that’s clean and somehow we’ve managed to get something to eat on the table.  I look at them and we together look at Christ and I remember that this is the way.  These are the only instructions necessary to raise a strong child–to look at Christ’s offering and then offer up myself too-to the God who works wonders. And I, like Samson’s parents, find myself just where I should be-face to the ground, lifting my eyes every now and then to look at these children growing stronger.

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