This past week, during my Bible reading, I've read again the story of Esther. This book, in the Old Testament, tells of an incident that occurred in Jewish history. The king of Persia, having disposed of his queen, was in search of a replacement. The king's attendants suggested that the entire empire be searched for beautiful young women; the young ladies would then be brought into the royal harem where they would receive beauty treatments. Following this time of preparation, the girls would be presented to the king. The woman that pleased the king the most would be made queen. The second chapter outlines how Esther was brought into the fortress of Susa, the location of the king's harem. Esther found favor with the attending eunuchs; she was treated kindly, given a special menu and received twelve months of beauty treatments in the best place in the harem. When it was her turn to meet with the king, Esther was ready. She had been coached and prepared. She smelled good. She looked good. And she had the aura of royalty. The king loved her, even after their first meeting. He was delighted with her and promptly declared her queen.What does this story have to do with parenting? A lot. It has changed how I have been parenting my six princesses this past week. My home, anyone's home, is like that fortress. We all belong to God, but when He calls us into action, will we be ready? Will our children be ready? Will the King be delighted with what we have to offer? Will we exude an aroma of praise or possess an aura of pride? I can prepare myself to meet with the King by reading His Word & practicing a lifestyle of praise. What about my kids? As a mother it is my task to help my daughters become presentable princesses. They must be ready to listen to HIs voice & eager to obey; they must be beautiful with gentleness & kindness. They must know that their time is coming soon- the KIng will call for them. They must be ready. When a child is alone or hurting, will our children allow God to love others through them? Will our kids be characterized by obedience and gratitude? There is another, more masculine, example to follow. The book of 1Samuel shows how a mother gave her son to the Lord, to be "the Lord's helper," (1Sam 2:18). And, when the Lord called on Samuel to be His prophet, Samuel was ready & obedient. We are raising royalty. Will our charges be ready when God has need of them? No longer are we nagging parents; it is our privilege & responsibility to make sure that our children are aware of the fact that they were created for a purpose. I am not parenting for my own enjoyment; the mandate is much higher. The King desires that our children know Him and His commands. As parents, we cannot simply feed & clothe our children until they can do it themselves. We must give them the best 'diet' & 'beauty treatments' so they will be pleasing to the King when He calls for them.
As a mother or a father, do you ever feel like you're floundering with the responsibility of raising your children? Do you have a clear strategy regarding how you will ensure that your kids turn out to be decent adults? Many times I feel lost, like the best I can do is keep these kids alive until they move out. However, I also feel that my children need more; God wants me to give them more.