I have been blessedto be in a video class by Beth Moore called "Children of the Day". It is a study on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. This last week I was blown away by Beth’s diagram of the six requirements for whole parenting. The most amazing part is that God is our example of how to be a whole parent. It is my belief that everybody can find at least one of the six ways that we are lacking in our lives. This goes for how we were parented, are parenting, and also how we understand God our Fathers parenting of us. When we lack even one of these it makes a part of our lives to be askew. I will be focusing on God’s parenting us and our need to understand His ways in order to have a fulfilling child/parent relationship with our creator.
Nurtured - To be nurtured is to be fed and to be trained or brought up. This could be pictured as a mother nursing her child. The child is safe, nourished, and growing as a result of the nurturing from its mother. God is very nurturing with us. We are meant to grow under His parenting. He nourishes with His word which we find in the Bible. As we take in this nourishment and put it into practice in our lives we in turn grow in strength and understanding. This produces in us a quality that is satisfying to God as our parent. We bring honor to Him. When I’m sad, too tired, or just plain stressed out I love to picture myself sitting on God’s lap. He has His arms around me in a hug and I have my face buried in His chest. I’m safe here. He loves me and comforts me. He is my Father, and I’m His beloved child. God is my nurturer and sustainer.
Affectionately Desired - To be wanted by God. God loves us deeply. 1 John 4:16a tells us “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us”. We can trust Him and His love for us. He desires time with us. God does not see us as a hassle to put up with. We are cherished. He desires a relationship and communication with us. What a great flood of warm feeling this brings me. I’m affectionately desired by my maker. He has a soft spot for me. One day I will be with Him for eternity and He is waiting for me. He has a special place for me.
Accepting Parents Very Self - Beth describes this as God giving fully of Himself to us and us accepting it. He holds nothing back. God is pouring His will into our lives. This will, when we accept it, is changing us day by day as we travel towards the day we finally meet Him. He is perfecting us. What a beautiful thought for one who has some forgettable things in their background. We never have to stay stuck in a bad spot. He will gracefully move us back to the right path if we cooperate. God is good.
Exhorted - Dictionary.com says to exhort is to urge, advise, or caution earnestly. How many times as a parent have we tried this with our own children? We draw from the well of our past experiences when trying to caution our children about harmful actions they are partaking or thinking of participating in. God’s word tells us there is nothing new under the sun. God has seen it all. This would surprise many people today who think they are trailblazers with their particular sinful actions. Many like to say the Bible isn't relevant for today. They must not be reading it. There are murders, sexual sins, greed, gluttony, and lying just to name a few. God does not advise us against such things to keep us from having fun. It is to protect us. How many times do we act on our foolish schemes just to be ashamed of ourselves afterwards? He desires nothing but the best for us. All that He has for us to learn in this lifetime is for our good. His instructions always lead us to the best for us. I think of how hard it is sometimes to convince my own children that our instructions are for their good. It can be very frustrating. How much more sad it must be to God who knows all about our future to see us not heed His loving instructions in our lives.
Encouraged - It is such a great feeling when someone we love or respect offers us encouragement. How much more awesome it is that God encourages us also! Joshua 1:9 tells us “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” That brings me great encouragement. The God who spoke the universe into being is with me wherever I go. Think about teaching a child to ride a bike. We never push them off and just let them go before they are ready, we run alongside of them until they get it down. This gives them the chance to learn this new skill while feeling the safety of their parents being right there with them. God never makes us do anything in life alone. He is there with us as we spread our wings of faith and prepare to fly. He encourages us not to give up or give in. He is on our side rooting us on. As I write this I’m struck by the fact that I let fear paralyze me a lot. That should not be so. I need to trust in the fact that God has equipped me to do everything I will come up against in this life. He’s got my back. That’s encouragement.
Charged to walk worthy- There is that old saying that we need to uphold our family’s good name. The same goes for a child of God. We need to walk upright as a child of the king. The world is watching. What does it say about our belief when we let life beat us down and act as if we have no hope? Our very lives should point people to Christ. We are to bring honor to His name. We have amazing stories to tell of changed lives. My own life is an example of that. I never would have thought God would let me lead a ministry. I have stumbled and bumbled through parts of my life. He just waited patiently for me to come back and participate in an amazing life story. He had my position at New Life picked out for me before I was even born. I was born for this purpose.
I wish my dad could have lived to see me step into this position. I know he would feel proud of me. I’m bringing honor to his name also. I can’t wait to see God face to face someday.
I want Him to say “well done Julie, you walked worthy.” Lord hasten the day.