I have a friend, who said that for the first several months of her daughter’s life she missed being pregnant. I was totally baffled by her comment. My pregnancies were not especially eventful as both proceeded in a nearly normal manner, until the end, that is. My first son apparently didn’t get the memo that he was due on July 13. He decided to chill out for an additional 7 whole days, then had to be surgically removed. I couldn’t say I missed being pregnant. My friend explained that once she had given birth she then had to worry about her daughter’s well-being. During pregnancy, she knew exactly where she was, she didn’t have to worry about someone hurting her or coughing on her to make her sick. She genuinely missed being pregnant.
In our household we have progressed out of onsies and diapers, car seats and booster seats, as well as strollers and scooters. It feels good. We’re at a point where the boys can (and do) wash dishes, clean their bathroom, Zach cuts the grass, Nick rakes the clippings. They are becoming more and more independent by the month. As a parent, it feels good to see a glimmer of light at the end of parenting tunnel--that is until I read my Bible study passage and started answering the questions.
In the second chapter of 1 Samuel we read about Eli, the priest. We learn that he has two adult sons, Hophni and Phinehas who “are scoundrels and have no regard for the Lord.” (v. 2) In those days, when the people offered a sacrifice to the Lord, it was the priest’s servants who would go take some of the meat, while it was being boiled, for the priest. They were supposed to use a 3-pronged fork to plunge into the pot and take to the priest whatever was on the fork. Eli’s sons, however, were choosy about the meat they took to their father, even rude to the Israelites in the process. This may not seem like a big deal, but we are told in verse 17, “This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.” We read in verses 23-27 that Eli approached them saying, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the Lord’s people is not good.” Hophni and Phinehas did not listen, their sins continued.
In 1 Samuel chapter 3, the Lord gives Eli a message through young Samuel, (v. 11-14) “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”
Whoever said parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, must have read the book of Samuel. Eli was aware of his sons’ sins and had talked to them about it, but he did not correct their behavior. I think Eli’s parenting might be described as passive-parenting. The question that has lingered on my mind all week is, “What behaviors (of yours or of others close to you) are you tempted to ignore or enable? How is God inviting you to respond?”
What a question! The first thing that popped into my mind was the condition of my children’s rooms. I used to clean them, now I tell them to clean them, I may even raise my voice a time or two, but they know, I’ll be tired and I’ll go to bed soon. And their rooms remain a mess. I used to say, “cleanliness is Godliness,” but I don’t say it nearly as much anymore--not sure why! I am concerned about the type of husbands my boys will become if they can’t consistently put dirty t-shirts into the clothes hamper. Rather than the passive, telling them to clean their rooms, I must make sure it happens. If that means not sparing the rod, if it means standing in the doorway until the room is clean, it is my responsibility to make sure it happens. This is one of my answers to the question that has lingered on my mind this week. As the mother of 11 and 14 year olds, I was starting to see the glimmer of light at the end of the parenting tunnel, but now...it’s not so clear. I’ve actually thought about how life will be when they move out in just a few short years, but Satan seems to be more active than ever before. I once saw on a church sign, “Give Satan an inch and he’ll become your ruler.” As parents, we must see to it that our children don’t give Satan an inch. If he does get an inch, we must be active, not passive, in changing the behavior. I believe my friend, was right, pregnancy was simpler.
Have a wonderful week!
Copyright 2018 Kimberly Griffith Anderson
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If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.