Being a parent has helped me understand the faith journey more than I expected. It affirmed my belief that God, as a loving father, does shake his head and sigh heavily as he watches me do what all the nonsense that I do. How do I know this? Because that is what I do…constantly…as I watch my kids stick beads in their nose just to see if it will fit.
On the other side of things, developing faith is really a parent/child relationship.
I began considering this when I was frustrated with the religious education my girls were getting. It was all lovey dovey and lacked substance, in my opinion. When I thought about it though, when my kids were new born, I did not lay the law down on them as we brought them home. No, what I did was love them. We would lay around and coo at each other. I would hold her and kiss her and play together. There is nothing but love and provision.
This is much like the start of our journey with God. We are so full of joy that we that we are cooing, usually in the form of praise and worship songs. In my experience, very few are brought to Christ through the fear of breaking the law. Most people accept faith by the overwhelming love of Christ. That is the what C.S. Lewis wrote about in “Surprised By Joy.”
It is that foundation of love that we accept the challenge to holiness. Our children accept our instruction because they truly believe that we have their best interest in mind. They trust that we are instructing them to be their best because of the foundation of love that was established over the time they are utterly dependent on us. We, as parents, have proven ourselves faithful. That is the same faithfulness we find in God as we began to move from the high emotional ride and move into the substance of learning and reading the Word.
This realization has helped me give myself more grace. I was very critical of myself because I always thought God was judging me. It wasn’t until I was asked if I I was that critical of my kids. Of course I was not that critical. Then I was like, “ohhhhhhh, I get it.” God is is called our father for a reason.