Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is Parenting Our Highest Calling?

(First, I need to give credit where credit is due and thank Leslie Leyland-Fields for her incredible book, Parenting Is Your Highest Calling and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us In Worry and Guilt.  I believe this book is a must read for all women and greatly influenced my message on Sunday and the way I view parenting.  Buying this book for yourself would be a fantastic gift that you are well deserving of.  Oh Leslie, if you read this or ever listen to my sermon, know that I never intended to plagiarize on purpose-- if I did!  I love your book so much that its words have become my own.)

Is Parenting Our Highest Calling?

Well if you joined us at Stonebridge on Sunday you will know that my answer to this question is... No.

But hang with me.

Matthew 10:37-39 (New International Reader's Version)

37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And anyone who does not pick up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 If anyone finds his life, he will lose it. If anyone loses his life because of me, he will find it.

Excerpt from Sunday's message:

The highest call of our lives today is the very same message that was given by Jesus to his disciples thousands of years ago. We are called to Love God... above all else.

As a church culture we remind ourselves often not to make a God out of money, or work or appearances. But our family? It is very easy to worship our family. In fact, I believe that as parents our biggest and never ending temptation is to unseat Jesus from his royal throne and replace him with our family. God calls us to an exclusive love for him that consumes our hearts, souls, minds-- all that we are. We need to heed the words in Exodus: “Do not worship any other God” (Exodus 34:14).

Hear me clearly, I am not telling you to love your family less, I am encouraging you to love God more.

So I spoke these words on Sunday and women all throughout the church nodded their heads.  They understood that they want to put God first, even before wonderful and awesome things like their family-- God is WORTHY of being #1 in our lives.  And any worship before the worship of God is misplaced.

Then today I got this e-mail from someone in our church:

"...It really hit home because parenting can be so rewarding, but so hard, just like life in general!  And just a reminder of needing to put Jesus 1st!!!!  Now the trick is just doing that!"

She is right-- now the trick is "just doing that."  So this is my hope for community and discussion today-- HOW do we act out in our daily lives making Jesus our first priority? How do we still put Jesus first when our daily tasks are so demanding... when we are chasing children, wiping behinds, making lunch, running errands, cleaning house and changing laundry?

So think about this for a brief moment, hit comment, and let the rest of us know your thoughts.  We might as well help one another on this journey, too.

On the journey.


P.S. Several of you have asked me for the verses to the last scripture from my message. It is from a book titled "Hugs for New Moms." It is below:

"When life gets tough, I (Jesus) am your hiding place. I'm near when you call upon Me. Give me all your worries and watch me sustain you. I am victorious. I am your eternal God of Refuge.”

Psalm 32:7: You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 145:18: The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.


  1. I am going to have to get that book. I have always believed that Jesus is our number 1 priority even before our spouse and children. So hard to do sometimes, but a must!!!! I can always tell when things are spinning out of control, I can always step back and realize I have put my family 1st and not Jesus, it just does not work. Another thing that I always try to keep in perspective and I learned this long ago from my Mom is my kids are not mine, they are only on "loan" from God and He has entrusted me to raise them, wow what a responsibility I have to Him (1st of all) and to not let my children down either.

  2. My thought is: God couldn't have intended for parenting to be everyone's highest calling...where would that leave those who are not parents?

    But, if you do have kids and they consume a giant part of your can serve God first by raising your kids in a way that glorifies Him. I don't think you're worshiping your family just because you spend most of your day taking care of your kids.


    I think the difference is raising your kids to love and honor God, and giving Him the glory VS. raising your kids however is easiest, and believing you can do it on your own. Taking all the credit for yourself, believing you're some supermom who has it all figured out ;)

    I think the part I tend to leave out is-taking the time out of my day to pursue a closer relationship with God. I get caught up in all I have to do, and wanting to get enough SLEEP! But, like you said in your message-if you seek God first (for me, that's really literal, and means getting up 30 minutes earlier than my kids!) thru prayer and His word...He'll give me the energy I need to serve Him the rest of the day. For me, that means by changing diapers and making meals!

  3. Now, I know what you're going to say...that I'm too young to understand the love of God or whatever, but I have to tell you I grew up in a strong Christian community being fed this same notion that God has to come before all else. But I have to ask, why does God have to come before everything else? My notion of God has most definitely shifted from what it once was, and so I cease to see God as an entity that demands glorification and exaltation from a mass of followers; I begin to see him as the conscious power behind all of life. Religion in general has evolved into a way of making people believe and act a certain way, usually to the fortune of a minority, and so we end up neglecting the majority of people. Any loving God that had the will to create such a vast universe would not do so for the basic glorifying of his own name. That's why I believe that we are a bit confused here. God is love, and so, the priority of our lives is not to put God before all else, but to bring in the loving energy that is God into our lives--especially our families. God is not trying to make himself the priority, but rather make our true calling in life to be as much of a source of love as possible.