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Thoughts on Christian Parenting—Part 2
I am a wife to my husband, Mike, and a mom to the four Wild brothers. We are missionaries living deep in the jungle of Southeast Asia working with tribal people to translate the Bible and teach them truth about God and His Word.
We all want the very best for our children. If there are mothers out there like me, we spend wasted hours of worry about their futures and what will become of them. As a mom living far removed from my home culture, far away from what I know as civilization, without professional medical care, and being a helicopter ride from the nearest town, there are plenty of things that could keep me up at night. As I talk to other missionary mothers, they have similar concerns about raising children in the cities of developing countries. How will our missionary children face the challenges of adulthood either in our home country, another western country, or possibly even a different developing country? Will they struggle? Will they be able to adapt? As missionaries we are making choices that will affect their futures, so these are all valid concerns.
I know I am not alone in worrying about my children. Mothers in America also face worrying challenges. Is America a perfect place to raise children? We have concerns about safety, education, the rapid decline in morals, and blatant sin being plastered in the media and on our streets.
So, what I concluded was this, whether we are here or there or somewhere in between, the answer was the same—it’s cross cultural. We are foreigners and strangers in this world no matter where we live (Hebrews 11:13). If we are followers of Christ and we are committed to training up our children in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6), if we are committed to making them disciples, teaching them all that Christ has commanded, if we believe that the Bible holds everything they need for life and godliness, if indeed we consider Christ as our treasure, then I realized that the answer for all of us is the same. We have to first and foremost immerse them in the Word of God, show them a wonder for the God of the universe, give them a respect and healthy fear for the living God.
In the fall of 2006 we found ourselves out in the middle of the jungle in a very uncertain set of circumstances. Do you know what we were studying at the time this happened? The book of Esther. Do you know what is written all over the book of Esther? God’s sovereignty. And at the very darkest of our 5 day ordeal in the jungle, a dear friend that had absolutely no idea what we were going through sent us an email that said, ‘was thinking of you’ and then Psalm 27. Almost every line of that chapter was applicable to what we were going through. So that is just a little example of an experience that proved to me clearly that our family needs to be saturated in God’s Word.
The Word of God is alive and active and it works in our children’s lives. Kian came down with what we thought was malaria for the first time in his little life. He was 7 years old and we have lived in Southeast Asia for most of his life. He was lying on the sofa shivering with fever and looking so pitiful that it broke my heart. I told him that I was so sorry he was sick. He responded by saying this, “It is ok, because God is in control, right?” It is our responsibility as parents to introduce our children to a God who is exactly what they need in times of suffering and a God who can be praised in the midst of it. It is our responsibility to point our children to a God who provides and gives us joy and is the giver of every good gift in times of victory.
As I mentioned before, we live in a remote area where we must have all our supplies flown in by plane and then shuttled to our location by helicopter. There has been more than one time when we have been in need of fresh produce whena woman walks to my porch and deposits a pile of food that is just what we need. We never consider this a coincidence but the perfect provision of a God who is near and cares. When He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6), He means it.
Living on the mission field and living in conditions so far from what we consider normal forces us to depend on God in a way that perhaps in America we could easily choose not to do. It has stretched my faith to points that, if given the opportunity to see the future, I would have run from the circumstances that we sometimes find ourselves in. However, now on the other side of those circumstances, I consider them to be priceless and a treasure. It’s in those times when there is no other place to turn that God envelopes you and is sufficient far above anything you could have hoped or imagined. Our children’s spiritual banks are increased when they see us as parents living a life of faith, and trusting God to be our all in all. For, truly, He “will never leave you nor forsake you.”
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