Updated: May 1, 2019
The Holy Spirit wants to be and should be involved in every single part of our lives, including our parenting. I should really say, the Holy Spirit wants to be and should be included in every single part of our lives, especially our parenting.
One of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit is to empower and assist. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we become equipped to live righteously, empowered to endure the trials and temptations we'll inevitably face, and helped in living our day to day lives.
John 14:16 says, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever..." The word Helper as used in this scripture is the Greek word parakletos. This word can be translated to mean 'one called to the side of another' or 'to counsel and support one in need.'
I don't know about y'all, but I need all the empowerment, equipping, and help I can get when it comes to parenting. Raising kids is hard! On my best parenting day I can still find at least 3 things I could have done better. And on my worst parenting day, well let's just say I am grateful for the grace, mercy, and unconditional love of both God and my son.
I am honest enough to admit that for the first year or so of my son's life, I was not letting the Holy Spirit lead my parenting efforts. I felt this immense burden to prove to myself, others, and even God that I could do this on my own. I honestly think I was so ashamed that my parenting story wasn't "godly" or "traditional," I felt like I needed to show God that even though my entrance into motherhood didn't happen "God's way" I was still able to do this thing called motherhood well. I wanted so badly to make God proud because I felt I failed Him so significantly, yet I failed to realize that my pride in trying to parent without Him was displeasing too. I also failed to realize that the way things happened for me was God's way, as unorthodox as it was, because He already knew what was to be and still allowed it to happen.
The more I strove to do it all myself, the more I found myself in positions that required His help. The more I tried to go it alone, the more frustrated and isolated I felt. I was reading the books, partnering with the therapists, and participating in the FB groups, but I still felt so lost and confused and discouraged. I was looking to every outside source for answers and insight on being a good parent, but I hadn't once considered turning to the one who blessed me to become a mother in the first place.
Why is it that we consult the world before the Word when it comes to parenting?
I am not saying those Facebook groups and mommy clubs are bad. I'm not saying that consulting doctors and therapists is wrong. I'm not saying those parenting books are misguided. I'm saying that those resources should not be the first nor the primary means from which we derive our help.
I love Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV) which says " I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth." Our help in all things, including parenting, is derived from the Lord. The help I needed so desperately was found in the Heavenly Father.
I needed to shift the way I viewed parenting, and through the Holy Spirit I began to see parenting as a privilege and an honor versus an obligation. I needed the grace to embrace my son for who he was, with all his differing abilities and quirks, versus trying to make him fit the world's mold. I needed the patience to help my son navigate his challenges versus letting frustration lead my decision making. I needed to be able to make decisions that were right for my son without caring so much about what other people would think. There was no book, group, or doctor that could empower me to parent righteously- Only the Holy Spirit could, and only the Holy Spirit did.
The danger in trying to parent without the Holy Spirit is that you are all you have to rely on. That means you'll parent out of who you are in the natural and what you know in the natural. And as saved as you are, the person you are in the natural without the influence of the Holy Spirit, well that person needs a lot of work.
The mom I was without the Holy Spirit was parenting out of brokenness. I was hurt, depressed, and lonely and I was subtly passing on my brokenness to my son. Though he was a baby at this time and likely has no real recollection of this season (thankfully), my past trauma, unforgiveness, and bitterness, was the filter through which everything flowed. I wasn't able to be patient or gracious. I wasn't able to be understanding or flexible.
I was passing down generational ways of thinking and being that were not of God because that was what I knew in the natural. I hadn't given my hurt to God and I hadn't invited God into my parenting process. But how my life, or our lives, changed for the better once I granted God that access! I am not a perfect parent by any means, but I am no longer a broken parent. I still have moments of struggle, but I now call on the Holy Spirit in moments of weakness versus crumbling under the pressure. I still don't have all the answers, but I serve a God who does and is quick to reveal himself to me in new ways on a daily basis.
So what kind of child are you trying to raise? What lessons do you want to teach your child? What type of example do you want to set? Do you want to break generational curses or inadvertently pass them on? Do you want to parent empowered or exhausted? Do you want your kids to remember you as frustrated or freed?
Let the Holy Spirit lead you! He will give you wisdom, insight, and strength to navigate parenthood with grace. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) says, " But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." God isn't disappointed in you because of your weaknesses, rather He wants to use your weaknesses to reveal His power and strength. But first, you must be humble enough to admit you need His help.
Remember, if you let the Holy Spirit lead you, you'll never be lost.