Several years ago, I decided it would save our family quite a bit of money if I learned some basic cake decorating skills. We were in the middle of those “I want a birthday cake that looks like Cinderella” years and those specialty cakes can cost a fortune. So, I went to Michael’s and took the class. I baked many unusual cakes – one of which even won a “prize” at my daughter’s Odyssey of the Mind competition. (Don’t ask. I’m still not sure why that was a “thing”.)
I will never be a professional cake decorator, even though those cakes turned out just fine. Why? Partially because I’m not an artist. Mostly though, because I’m just not willing to put in the time and effort to get really good at it. “Good enough” is okay with me when it comes to cake decorating.
Parenting, especially Christian parenting, can be like that. We are asked to do so many things, it’s easy to just “get by”. We don’t give anything our best, because it takes more time and effort than we have to give. Or maybe, we choose something like sports or dance for our child, where we really go the extra parenting mile. After all, there are college scholarships and careers to be had.
How many of us though can honestly say we put in our best efforts at Christian parenting? Do we really make it a top priority, or is it just one of many extracurricular activities for us and our kids? Sometimes we may put in extra effort, but most of the time we just do what is absolutely necessary to “get by.” We figure God will make up the difference.
How important though is it that you really giving Christian parenting your best efforts? Extremely, because you want to be able to answer “yes” to these questions. Are your kids building strong spiritual foundations? Will their faith survive the college years? Or will their faith even make it through high school in one piece? Do your kids have the spiritual tools to become strong, active Christians living their faith daily for the rest of their lives?
Only you and God know for sure how much effort and energy you are putting into Christian parenting. Oh, I know, some of you are beginning to roll your eyes and mumble something about Christian guilt. Or maybe you are reassuring yourself that God will “fix your messes” and grace will cover your lack of effort.
Somebody once asked me why I made certain parenting choices. My answer then is the same answer I would give today. I absolutely know I would and still do make mistakes. I am not perfect, nor am I a perfect parent. When Judgement Day comes though, I want to be able to look God in the eye and honestly say I did the very best I could do – I had given Christian parenting 110%. I believe grace will cover the rest and probably a lot of mistakes I don’t even realize I have made.
Personally, though I just couldn’t look God in the eye and admit I had done the bare minimum and hadn’t made Christian parenting a top priority in my life. I didn’t want to risk my child walking away from God, because I hadn’t taken the time and effort to teach her about God and what He wants from her and for her. Or because I hadn’t put in the effort to correct and train her to have a heart and actions that would please God. I just couldn’t.
Our daughter may still reject God at some point. I will still make parenting mistakes that will need God’s grace. I will still have days when I “phone it in” instead of giving it my best efforts. Every day though, I try to remember the goal and give Christian parenting everything I have. None of us will ever be Christian parents and I do thank God for the grace that covers the mistakes I make, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for perfection. (Col. 3:23-24) I pray you will take up the challenge God has given you as a Christian parent and make it a top priority for you and your family. I really believe it is worth the time and effort.