As a mom, my primary goal was to raise our daughter and son to love and serve Jesus with their lives. I intended, to the best of my ability, to see that they would come through their teen years with as few “scars” as possible.
And frankly, after having heard so many stories from women who had more than one sexual partner before getting married; of their difficulty in breaking early ties with former lovers, I also had a specific goal that they would stay pure until marriage.
Lofty, I know. But I had great faith, that God could and would do it.
[I also MUST say here, that through repentance and faith, God can and does completely heal and restore those who have crossed the line before marriage. See 1 John 1:9]
Though I had not remained pure until marriage, I did marry the “one and only” [and so did he] and we have been eternally grateful for that. I have no doubt it has been beneficial to our marriage, which sealed in me an even deeper conviction that this was something worth contending for.
I have described my parenting – especially in those years of hormones and identity crisis times – as “being on my knees and on my toes.”
It meant constant watchfulness [on my toes] – in overseeing their lives.
It meant having an understanding of their unique weaknesses in social situations as well as knowing what was happening and who they were with in times when they were away from home. Not as micro-manager, but as one who is given a charge by God to guide them in the way they should go.
It meant knowing who they were with and having conversations with them about what God desired for them. And it meant talking about how to make wise decisions that would best honor God and keep them safe.
They knew from early on that God’s ways are good and freeing, not restrictive.
Though we had a somewhat severe struggle, I am blessed to report that they both honored God with their bodies in saving themselves for their spouses. [All glory to God!]
I would be amiss if I didn’t also tell you that the watchfulness was coupled with prayer. Intense prayer. [On my knees] . . . the dark of night, on my face in carpet, with my Mom’s In Prayer group, with my Bible study friends, and with the youth group leaders.
And I prayed daily with my kids.
We missed a few days, but our constant goal was to have the 15 minutes before the bus came to pick them up, or later, before they hopped in the car to leave. We read and memorized scripture, and we prayed together.
I believe the combination of watchfulness as a mom, the prayers I prayed, and the time I spent with them centering our conversations on God kept them focused on Him and enabled them to continue to desire to please Him more than ‘self’ or their peers.
Jesus exhorted with the words “watch and pray” on two occasions. First when his disciples fell asleep on him, when he was in Gethsemane facing the darkest night of His life. And second, instructing them to be alert and watch for His return in the last days.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is need is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times , praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36
We are all watching something. Our eyes might be looking to worldly success, riches, entertainment. Or we are looking past all of that to our eternal dwelling with God, storing up treasures in Heaven. Matthew 6:20; 22; 24
Its true, our lives follow where we fix our gaze. Prayer keeps us in constant awareness of our need of God and His power to get us where He wants us to go. It is by His grace that we reach the goal of pleasing Him with our lives.
What are your current goals? Where are you fixing your eyes? Are you praying about your desires? Does it encourage you that in my parenting pursuit, in this culture, partnering with God according to His will, that He fulfilled the desire of my heart?
There is great assurance in the marriage of those two words: Watch & Pray