| from Suzanne Phillips |
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Here we go! It’s time for back to school. Is everybody ready?
What will the upcoming year look like in your family? Perhaps a better question is what are you hoping the upcoming year will look like in your family? While there are a multitude of options available for education and instruction, all parents have one goal in mind; we want our children to grow. As parents we often fall into the traps of culture, getting caught up in grades, scores and overachievement. Attention, focused primarily on performance, can easily cause stress. Many times, the stress begins in parents and trickles down to students. Anxiety stirred by worldly standards or competitive pressure rob a learner from the joy of learning and develops a common/collective aim rather than a specific vision for a unique child of God.
How do we, as parents, guard against praising performance and instead make our goal one that promotes the personal growth of each individual child?
As a mom I just launched the third of my 3 children. I understand well the pressure a parent feels while navigating the ways of the world. For 15 years I have walked with, taught and mentored moms and parents. Over and over, I hear this phrase echoed through the nervous voices and weepy conversations, “I am responsible for my child’s…”, you name it, success, happiness, health, popularity, safety, future and even grades. That’s right, parents quickly take on the role of Creator and the responsibility of Lord and Savior squeezing God right out of the scene of the very story He is writing. Thank goodness God’s plan cannot be thwarted by our children’s choices or our own well-intentioned and sometimes misguided parenting!
Please know that I am preaching to myself even as I type. However, after years of living and lifting these heavy laden lies I cherish the opportunity to set other moms and parents free. Let me share an important truth; there is a big difference between being “responsible for” and “responsible to”.
Years ago, I had a revelation that changed my life and lifted the heavy burden I felt while parenting. After all, Jesus tells us His burden is light, right? One day while journaling and praying over a difficult situation with one of my children I felt a weight settle on me because I knew I couldn’t change the circumstance or their heart. I made a decision to release the situation and give the circumstance, along with my child, back to God. I had been carrying the circumstance and my rather large child around like the weight of the world in a backpack. Jesus reminded me to place the worries and my baby at the foot of the cross. My children belong to God, they are His. Yes, He entrusted the responsibility of discipling them to my husband and me, but He did not appoint me to the creator or keeper of their destiny. As parents we are not responsible “for“ the outcome of our children’s life! That job is taken, what a tremendous relief!
The definition of parent means to bring forth. We are responsible “to” bring forth the person God created in our child, we are responsible “to” respond to God’s leading in rearing our children, we are responsible “to” lead our children to Jesus and the love of the Father and, eventually, we are responsible “to” let our Heavenly Father, their Heavenly parent, lead them in the way they will go.
When we trust God with our children, we are available to hear His perfect leading during the journey. If we choose to ask for wisdom and revelation, He will answer us with just that! I have found that the wisdom and revelation often come in the form of relationships with those who have gone before me, unchanging promises laid out in His Word and practical tools to help me on my way.
I’ll leave you with a few practical tools that have been a blessing to my family in various seasons of life:
- The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd – Jones
- Five to Thrive by Dr. Kathy
- The 8 Great Smarts by Dr. Kathy
- 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- Envision Life Academy www.envisionlifeacademy.com
Each of these resources help you help your child in the shaping of their heart and their future! Blessing in the search. I am praying you experience the great joy of seeing your BECOME right before your eyes!
Suzanne Phillips is a storyteller with a desire for connection, a teacher with a heart for transformation, and a visionary with a commitment to the family and discipleship. A season of trauma and the loss of a child led Suzanne to a radical conversion and a passionate pursuit of truth.
Suzanne is the co-founder of Ignite the Family, a ministry with a mission to help families live out God’s design for the family, that is now the conference division of Celebrate Kids. She is also a co-founder of Legacy Community Academy in Atlanta, GA, a unique hybrid academy and model of education with a vision to launch mission-minded student leaders who shape culture. Suzanne is wife to Lane, mama to Ansley, Ward, and Lilly, and mom-in-love to Will. At any given time you will find Suzanne with a book in her hand, people at her table, an idea on her mind, and family in her heart. She is motivated by seeing others live out their unique calling and loves serving as an associate for Celebrate Kids.