Growing up I knew being a mom was a lot of work! I am the eldest of five siblings, and I was often called upon to help with them. Rocking my youngest brother (who is twelve years younger than me) to sleep for a nap took up too much of my time. As a young teenager, I had other things to do. Then there was the week my grandfather was in the hospital. My mother sat with him every day, tasking me with keeping up with my siblings, doing the laundry, and cooking dinner. That was exhausting.
Fast-forward to marriage. My husband and I were young, finding our way in ministry, and working hard to make ends meet. After a couple of years, however, a strong longing to be a mother hit me. I desired to hold a baby and nurture it.
Parenting Young Children
God blessed my husband and me with two girls in the next few years. Oh, how I love my girls! And, oh, what a lot of work they were: feeding, bathing, and keeping up with them as they learned to crawl and walk. I think our first daughter’s favorite activity was emptying the bottom two shelves of my husband’s bookcase (much to his chagrin), leaving a trail of books from one room to the next.The bottom line is that we are responsible for raising souls, and we must do our best in pointing them to Jesus. #parenting Click To Tweet
The joy these girls brought was more than I could’ve imagined. Yet I felt the weight of guiding these two young souls into a relationship with God and to eventually become responsible, productive adults. My husband and I prayed for wisdom and drew from the examples of our parents and others. Here are some things we learned along the way:
- God extends grace and mercy—and so do we. Children need guidance and correction as they mature,
Children need guidance and correction as they mature, but they need to feel love and forgiveness, never rejection.
but they need to feel love and forgiveness, never rejection.
- Children need to know we are not perfect—as individuals and as parents. It’s OK to allow them to see our vulnerabilities and how we handle them.
- God and family come first—before ministry involvement, jobs, and other activities. We only have a limited number of years in which to grow our children’s souls to maturity.
- Be open and honest—and listen. Allow your child a safe place to ask questions and answer them honestly. It’s not always easy, but your child needs to know their questions and concerns are important to you.
- Involve your children in your ministry. My parents were involved in music ministry, and as soon as we kids were old enough, we were singing and playing musical instruments too. When I went to college, I studied music, and it became my ministry. Now I have one daughter who is part of our church’s music ministry today. Regardless of your ministry involvement, make sure your children are a valued part of it.
- Consider the source. One thing my mother used to tell me that I have also passed on to my girls is “consider the source.” People can say and do hurtful things and there is often a motive behind their actions. Instead of reacting or being upset, consider the source. This simple consideration has helped me many times.
These are just a few things that have helped me on my journey as a mother. Raising children can be challenging. Times and circumstances change but some basic principles do not; they must simply be adapted. The bottom line is that we are responsible for raising souls, and we must do our best in pointing them to Jesus. There is no higher calling.
Melody Reever resides in Barnhart, Missouri, with her husband, Nathan. She is the mother of two daughters, Angela and Ashley. Melody is blessed with one grandson and one granddaughter, whom she enjoys spoiling (ignoring complaints from their mom and dad). She also is the editor of Reflections Magazine. Melody shares her story on behalf of the UPCI Family Ministries Council.
Resources for Parenting
Seeds of Jochebed: Find a package of “seeds” of truth to share with your children.
Devotions with Dad: Nuggets of spiritual truth to encourage and direct you to walk through life using Scripture, and fatherly wisdom, as a guide.