Relationships: Parenting

This morning, we’ll be starting a new message series on relationships.  Any time that we open our lives up to another person, we can experience deep and meaningful relationships with them and create great memories that last a lifetime, but we also run the risk of getting just as deeply hurt by them.  It’s well worth the risk, however!  We’ll be learning together how to safeguard our hearts as well as how to find healing and restoration from these hurts.

People hurt us, God heals us!
The first relationship that we’ll be taking a look at is that of a parenting.
Parenting is far from an easy task!  Frequently, parenting looks far less like this Hallmark version currently being displayed and a bit more like this.
We find that often, what we want our families to be like and what they actually are become a bit separated.
Today is, of course, mother’s day.
* Have mothers both physical as well as spiritual ones to stand; we want to honor you *

I have a short video clip depicting the phases of motherhood from the perspective of a daughter to share.
* SHOW IN HER STEPS VIDEO *

Motherhood is so amazing to me!  I can’t imagine what it is like being a woman especially throughout a pregnancy.  It was very exciting for me as a dad to hear the baby’s heartbeat and to see the sonograms and to feel the baby moving and kicking inside of my wife.  What an honor to be a vessel chosen by God used to bring new life – literally.  To think that none since Adam and Eve have came into existence without a mother.  In fact, God even chose to bring Jesus to earth through the virgin Mary in complete humility and living life just the same as we do even from the beginning.
To think that the mother’s body is being used to house and sustain a brand new and distinct life from conception  while the Lord knits this person together with His purposes and plans in mind for it.  Wow!
Psalm 139:13-18
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand –
    when I awake, I am still with you.
Of course, God knew the days of our lives even while we were being kit together, but pregnancy creates for us such an atmosphere of hope, eager anticipation, and mystery.  Just wondering what the child will look like, what it’s personality will be like, and what things it will someday do.  It’s an amazing thing and is one of the greatest miracles that we can experience in life as we get to watch the hand of God work firsthand.  To realize that He takes a single cell and creates the complex and unique being that we are.
This morning, I would like to share some parenting advise with you all.
To start, a bit of advise from a mentor of mine, Tim Hawkins.
* SHOW VIDEO TIM HAWKINS – PARENTING ADVISE*

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
God created the physical things around us to reflect different aspects of who He is and what He is like.
This couldn’t be any more true than when it comes to mankind and especially our relationships!  In fact, we were created in God’s very own image.
Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
He made two different types of mankind who together reflect the image of God.  Almost like God split Himself in two; both male and female with positive strengths that compliment the other’s weaknesses and bring about completeness.
It should not be a surprise to us that marriage and family is so attacked!  There is nothing that Satan wants to distort and destroy more than something that directly reflects and glorifies who God is.
My heart really goes out to all of the single parent households; you all have a lot on your shoulders!  It’s difficult to see so many broken marriages and families, but so encouraging to see how, with God’s strength, many have been able to rise out of those ashes and see Him create something beautiful in spite of their circumstances.
We see in scripture that God created (in chronological order):
1. Mankind in His own image
2. Marriage which reflects the relationship between Christ and the church (Christ the groom, Church the bride)
3. Family which reflects His kingdom (He our heavenly Father; us adopted children and brothers and sisters in Christ)
Having our families reflect God’s kingdom is quite the tall order.  However, if it is God’s desire, then we have quite the proponent to help us to bring this to pass.  This morning, we’re going to take a look at some key aspects in having our households do exactly that.
Do this by:
1. Placing Him First (living in His presence at all times)
2. Seeking Him in Everything (His will be done)
3. Having Unconditional Love (Love others with the Love that He has given us)
4. Practicing Loving Discipline (Quick to forgive, but still have appropriate consequences; God disciplines those that He loves)
5. Encouraging Encouragement (Build up each other and appreciate diversity and personality strengths)
6. Discovering Destiny (Determining, preparing, and walking out God’s calling in each person’s life together)
7. Expecting Victory (Supporting each other to recognize and overcome obstacles)
8. Remaining teachable and changeable (Humility – considering others above ourselves)