Sometimes I worry about my children’s hearts. Because we homeschool, I have a close-up view of all their faults. They get a close-up view of all my faults. Sometimes I struggle to find the good in them. They almost always seem to find the good in me. I think a lot about the lines in Malachi 4 that say:
And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.
I worry that my heart is turned enough towards my children. I pray constantly for love, patience and kindness. I don’t know that any of those virtues are my strong suit. It’s difficult to be “on” 24/7. I seem to have at least one mess-up that I consider major every day (or at least every other day).
I have learned that parenting can’t be in my own strength. I’ve also learned that I struggle to give all four of my children the love and affirmation that their hearts so desperately need. It’s a constant balancing act. That is for sure.
There’s no understanding the joy that I feel though when one of my children shares his or her heart with me. I know that, when I have their hearts (and they have mine), that is how I can be the parent that God needs me to be.
So, this fall, when I was reading Legacy, I found myself really attracted to this quote:
Unless their sinful hearts are regenerated and captured for Christ, no amount of behavior modification, character training, high standards, catechizing, drilling Scripture, etc. will produce godly children.
She’s not saying any of those things are bad. She’s just noting that you cannot guarantee that your children will be godly, and you cannot save your children. All you can do is to pray that Jesus will capture each of their little hearts and keep hold of them for the rest of their lives. That takes faith. That drives us all to our knees. Proper parenting seems always to be done with humility and from a vantage point of our knees.
If you are wondering if you child has your heart, examine how much time you spend on your knees for each child. Think of what you pray over your child. Pray and pray and pray again. Pray that you’ll have your child’s heart. More importantly pray that Jesus has their heart. That is when lives begin to change.