Growing up my mom was (and still is) a serious Dodgers fan. She didn’t take too much of an interest in professional football or basketball, but for as long as I can remember she has been a rabid fan of The Boys in Blue.
I have fond memories of going to a double header when I was in elementary school, listening to Vin Scully on TV, hearing stories of my mother watching the Dodgers play at the Coliseum with her father when she first moved to Los Angeles, and watching the Dodgers win the ’88 series (it was it seems like so long ago). In fact, my mom was so serious about her beloved team that if any of our friends brought Giants or Yankees’ hats with them while visiting our home, they were required to leave them outside before they came into the house. Personally, I can’t remember not being a Dodgers fan. Loving the Dodgers was the atmosphere I lived in.
In hearing these stories, some of you diehard Dodgers fans might be impressed by my mother’s parenting skills, while those of you who are from San Francisco might consider it a form of child endangerment. However, the real purpose of those stories is not to argue for loving the Dodgers as a form of good parenting (that will be another blog post) but to ask you a question, especially those of you who are mothers.
What is the environment that you are raising your kids in?
Fortunately for me and my brothers there was one thing that always superseded the Dodgers (as well as everything else) in our home, and that was loving Jesus. Our faith in Christ was the center of our home.
Moms, let me offer a simple encouragement as you journey through the joys and challenges of mothering: Let the gospel bring focus to the mission of your parenting and be the atmosphere your children live in. In other words, Jesus’ commission in Matthew 28:19, “make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you,” should really begin in our own homes. If we lose our gospel focus in our parenting, we forget why God has entrusted our children to us. We will emphasize education and sports and social awareness. We want daughters who dress cute and boys who are manly, all the while forgetting what is most important – to make disciples through the power of the gospel. There are many applications of this truth, but let me offer a few:
Have a Gospel-Centered relationship. Make the foundation of your mothering be your own relationship with Jesus. Being a mother is challenging (to use a severe understatement). It is difficult to wake up every 3 hours to feed, it is difficult to be patient with a child in the terrible two’s, it is difficult to have hope with a wayward child… but it is possible when your relationship with Christ is solid and strong. Let your mothering be an overflow of your love, worship, and devotion to Christ.
Have a Gospel-Centered message. Remember that the gospel is what you want your child to know and live. Sometimes we unknowingly give our children the gospel (a declaration of good news) of education. We teach them that schooling is a savior that will bring happiness and security to their lives. But that is a false gospel. They need to know the gospel of Christ. Teach them the true gospel throughout their lives. When they sin, point them to the cross as the only hope for sinners. Help them to see their identity in the gospel. Help them to see suffering through the lens of the gospel. Help them to place their hope in the gospel. Let the gospel be THE message that your children understand for life.
Have a Gospel-Centered life. May your life add credence to your message. Let your love and patience and godliness tell your children something about the gospel you believe in. Let your priorities boldly proclaim to your children the priority of Christ and his gospel. Let your love for your husband, love of the church, and even love for your enemies declare a powerful gospel to your watching children.
Let me close with one of my favorite parenting quotes. It is an encouragement to not only allow the gospel to be the focus of our parenting, but the hope of our parenting. Tedd and Margy Tripp write,
The power of the gospel is our hope in this parenting task. We come to parenting with all of our weaknesses and failings. God is not finished with US yet, but we still have this task of teaching our children. [So] We come to him with our profound need for grace and strength to do all the things he has called us to do. The power of the gospel is not just for our children; it is for us. The power of grace in the gospel will cleanse us, forgive us, change us internally, and empower us to be all that we need to be to instruct the hearts of our children. Don’t be put off by your needs and weaknesses. Our weakness will never keep us from God as much as strength will. Come to Christ each day knowing that you can do all things through him who gives you strength.”
Kim Kira is the primary teaching elder at Lighthouse. He loves being part of a church family that is committed to loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Kim is driven by a deep desire to encourage people to worship the true, Triune God of Scripture rather than the idols of the world. This, he believes, is made possible by the transformative power of the Gospel, the Good News that offers not only entrance into heaven but offers powerful and practical hope for change in everyday life. Beyond ministry, Kim loves to spend time with his wife Jen and their four children, Caleb, Josiah, Karissa, and Carson. His other interests include the Lakers, the Dodgers, grilling, red meat, snowboarding, and playing sports.