A dense cloak of darkness, fog and incessant rainfall obscured visibility. Dangerous hazards made navigation treacherous. Then in the distance, a small beacon of light emerged. Inching forward, its increasing presence provided the necessary guidance safely home.
Parenting can sometimes feel like a dark and stormy night. We don’t know what to say, do or how to point our children to safe passage through life’s perils. At a standstill, with no clear path visible, a small light materializes. It shines brightly helping us see a way forward. We take one step at a time, encouraging our children to follow along.
Keeping our eyes on God our lighthouse, we simultaneously reflect the needed illumination for our children to follow. Yet in life’s storms, there are also moments when it’s necessary to move with the wind. We are not uprooted but flexible enough to bend as needed.
Continuing our #JoyinParenting series examining our various parenting roles, this week we’ll discuss being both a lighthouse and a willow. While these may seem like opposites, these roles interchange as quickly as shifting winds before a storm.
We guard our children’s safety and teach them all they need to know. As parents, we joyfully dream about instilling life lessons and principles to our children, often before they arrive. They are learned from our parents, gleaned from mentors or experienced navigating our own life path. These core values are what we stand firm upon, guiding what and how we teach our children.
We explain these beliefs, traditions and principles to our children hopefully emulating how they’ve shaped our lives. These values and our direction become the lighthouse upon which our children rely. A guiding presence shining light into even the darkest, foggiest night. We reflect Him and illuminate their way to what we pray is a safe, secure passage through life.
We don’t back down but stand firm on what’s important. Yet there are also moments when life winds shift and flexibility is best. Sometimes, we just need to bend like a willow.
Maybe it’s more leniency or easing our grip on control.
Maybe it’s adjusting our plans to theirs or to God’s.
Maybe it’s letting go of our will and putting God’s first.
Maybe it’s being still and present instead of busy and distracted.
When to stand firm and when to be flexible takes wisdom—a wisdom that comes only from God.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” ~Matthew 7:24
The more we seek God for ourselves, the more knowledge and wisdom He provides. Jesus is our example. He always stood firm on what was important in life-loving God and loving others. It can be tempting to bend too much to the ways of this world or the children we love. But instilling His wisdom into our hearts and minds can direct us.
“To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” ~Matthew 13:12
Yes, sometimes it’s ok to eat dessert first, skip the dishes to play outside or add fifteen minutes to the curfew. But other times, we need to stand firm. The decision when to stand like a lighthouse or bend like a willow will always be unique to us and our own children. But rooting ourselves in His wisdom is the ultimate way to gain insight to make these decisions.
Let’s honor our children as God’s unique gifts to us and be who God intends for all of us.
Let’s dig into His Word to provide the needed roots allowing us to openly bend and not break. Let’s stand firm on His truth to reflect His light into all the unpredictable, dark and stormy moments of life.
Let’s simultaneously be the joyful, guiding lights and flexible willows our children need to help navigate this world.