Raising children in the ministry has been a wonderful journey, although, at the very beginning, I wasn't so sure how my children would turn out.
I always heard the stories of PK kids that rebelled, were wild and shamed their families. My heart goes out to any family where this has happened, and I don't wish anyone to experience this kind of heartbreak.
That's exactly what it does—it breaks the parents' heart.
I am not an expert in raising children or having the perfect family. However, I have learned some things through the years, raising children that are not our own biological children and seeing many families in ministry dealing with their children. This must be discussed, and my heart is only to help, encourage and enlighten. I am still on this journey, but I don't fear the challenge and I trust God in raising our children.
Parents who give their life to minister to others make a huge sacrifice to bring the gospel to hurting people. It takes their time, emotions and, at times, it can take them away from their family. We understand that dynamic, and those of us in ministry know it's always a balancing act. When you give so much, you pray that your life, your family and your children will turn out OK. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't.
Here are five things that can cause children to rebel or stray from their faith:
- Spiritual warfare – Many people encounter demonic spirits that will try to discourage and destroy their life. We all have to be on guard to protect those weak areas of our lives. Be open when things begin to manifest and immediately come against them through prayer and deliverance.
- Generational curses – We know the Word of God tells us that the sins of the fathers are passed down to the children. Unfortunately, these generational curses are passed down in our families and can affect our children. You may look at your children and wonder why they are acting out in such a way or why they are struggling with certain sin issues. As parents, we have to look at our own sin issues and be quick to deal with them. We can hide it from everyone else, but the enemy is not naïve to it and will be more than happy to see it loosed on our children.
- Lack of parental guidance – It is so easy to get caught up in what we do in ministry, that our children are left to themselves and we fail in parenting our children properly. We have to ask ourselves if we are showing our children that we care. Do our children know that we love them, or have we mastered the skill of "delegation" and have delegated our children to nannies, babysitters or TV?
- Not being accountable or corrected – This is number one in Parenting 101. We must hold our children accountable and correct when necessary. We are all born into sin and it takes parents, with God's help, to guide, nurture and correct children to do what is right. You never have to teach a child how to sin; you have to teach them how not to sin. You must stay consistent in accountability and correction. Don't compromise.
- Choices – As a parent, if you feel you've given it your best shot and have been there for your children, remember this: Your children have free will to choose. At the end of the day, our children will choose if they want to serve God, and obey and honor you as their parent. There is nothing more you can do if they choose otherwise. The only thing you can do is pray for them, keep loving them, and trust God to soften their heart and turn their heart back to Him and to you as their parent.
As parents, whether we are in ministry or not, we desire to do the best we can to raise our children right, and when we see them in error or straying we are loaded down with guilt about what we are doing wrong. We are all in the same boat.
However, I think it is important to keep things in perspective about how we need to respond. The more knowledge you have, the more wisdom God will give you in raising your children. Even if your children are grown, He will give you wisdom on how to relate to them now that they are adults.
Here are 5 things to encourage you as a parent:
- Love your children – Your children need your affection and words of love. Hug and kiss your children, and tell them you love them. Love and nurturing are vital to a child's development.
- Affirm them and have healthy expectations – Children look to their parents for affirmation. So many times when our children don't turn out the way we would like, we show our disappointment. When parents hold their children accountable and have healthy expectations, they help them become all that God wants them to be.
- Let them be involved in ministry – The greatest way for pastors' kids to love the ministry is to get them involved. Give them opportunities to use their gifts and talents in ministry. Some parents would be surprised at how much their children will add to their ministry by hearing them out on how to improve what they do. Give them a chance to make a difference.
- Help them develop in their gifts – Find out what your children do best and make room for them to use their gifts. Support them with your words and actions. Financially support them if their gifts will bring glory to the Lord.
- Don't give up – The greatest thing you can do as a parent is to never give up on your children. No matter how far they stray or how much they disappoint you, remember, you are their greatest influence.
Sometimes life can get so busy and challenging that we think our children are fine if they are being tended to by others, or that they just have to understand. It's a juggling act at times. However, it is our responsibility to raise our children up in the Lord, nurture them and help them become what God wants them to become. For more resources or information go to www.triciareyes.com.
Along with her husband, Pastor Luis Reyes, Tricia Reyes is the co-founder of The New Church Of Joy in Waukegan, Illinois. She is a blogger and author and helps manage her daughter Madison's (Maddie Rey) Music Ministry. She is a devoted wife as well as mother to Madison and Matthew and loves the Lord with all her heart! To learn more about Tricia's ministry or to book her for a Women's Event/Conference visit her website at triciareyes.com or thenewchurchofjoy.com.
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