God the parent
Parenting is a complex gift and task. Often we can get so distracted with the tasks of parenting (providing food, discipline, shelter, clothing and education) that we lose our relationship with the child in all the pressures and worries. Yet the greatest need of a child in growing into a secure, self-confident and healthy adult is to know that they are loved. Love is expressed in trust, care, delight and freedom to develop as a person in healthy, forgiving relationships.
Read Psalm 139:13-16
God has created each of us. We are unique.
- What can we learn from this passage about how God sees each one of us?
- What does this passage tell us about God as our creator?
Read Galatians 4:4-7
God gives us an opportunity to be in a relationship with him. Each of us has a strong desire to be loved and to belong in families and communities. If we know we are loved, we know we belong. Secure in that knowledge, we can grow into God’s promises for our lives.
- What does it mean for you to belong to God?
- How can we help each other know we are wanted and belong?
Read Matthew 12:18 and Luke 3:22
God was not afraid of expressing his love for his Son and for us as his children. He asks us to do the same. Children know if our love is a duty or a joy. Joyful love frees a child to be happy, creative and to discover who they are.
- Are you secure enough in God’s love to share this in your relation-ships with your children and others?
Read Jeremiah 31:3-20
God forgives us as we stumble and grow towards maturity. His love for us gives us the security to step out and try new things. We can be confident that he will never hurt or abandon us.
- What does it mean to me to know that God delights in me?
- What stops me from giving this same gift to the children that I care for? How can I change with God’s help?
Let God’s love and delight in you speak to you and heal any hurts from the past. May we delight in our children for who they are, and give them the freedom to be themselves in Christ.
Dr Josephine-Joy Wright is a clinical psychologist with children and adolescents. She works with the NHS in the UK, is a training consultant for Viva Network and is co-editor of Celebrating Children, shortly to be published by Paternoster Press, UK.