My daughter-in-law, Janel Thompson, sent the family an email sharing what God revealed to her about parenting while studying the Book of 1 Thessalonians in the Bible. Read 1 Thessalonians yourself and then enjoy and reflect on what God might be telling you about your parenting or grandparenting. I would love to hear your comments. Janel writes:
Chapter 2:4 says Paul and the others were “men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.” As parents, it’s empowering and humbling to think that we as a couple are approved by God and entrusted to parent our kids and guide them to Christ. In verses 7,8,11,12, Paul says they loved the church so much they enjoyed sharing their lives together. They were gentle as a mother caring for a young child and dealt with them as a father. They encouraged, comforted, and urged the people to live lives worthy of God who calls them.
Then I came to two different verses that I pray can be true about each of our kids.
“We also thank God continually because when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thess. 2:19-20).
Chapter 3 talks about a time when Paul was no longer with the church, but he still cared about their wellbeing and sent Timothy to “strengthen and encourage” them in their faith (vs. 2). This is similar to when our kids are no longer home all the time with us: in sports, school, Sunday school, and youth group. Even though we aren’t the only input in our kids’ lives, we still can influence who impacts them and expose them to other kids with a strong faith, so they can learn from others as well.
Paul expresses such intense feelings for the people he is writing to. “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?” (1Thess. 3:9). This is just the kind of thing we would want to say about our adult children. My husband and I went through a class at church that talked about having a “deparenting plan”. A plan as to how we will slowly help our kids become adults so they need less and less of our “parenting” and can rely more and more on their relationship with God to help them make wise decisions. This verse expresses how we will feel to see our kids as growing adults wise and walking with God.
Then I love the last verses in chapter 3 because as a mom, I never want to lose touch with our kids. I never want them to be out of touch with them. Paul had these same feelings for the church when he wrote. “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you” (1 Thess. 3:10-11).
In closing, Paul’s prayer in verse 13 is a prayer I will pray for each one of our kids, “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”
We are far from being perfect parents—we scream and lose our minds and screw up—but reading these verses gave me a vision for how it can be as parents of grown children, as well as prayers to pray for God’s grace and guidance.