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ParentsA Child Shall Lead Them
By Anita Howell

Who hasnít heard their parents say, "I hope God gives you a child just like yourself!" I often wonder if the main reason God allows us to be parents is for the tremendous learning opportunities that come from parenting someone just like us. We can definitely gain a new perspective on ourselves as we parent, or when we mentor other children in our church, family, or neighborhood.

Only when you watch your child question your trustworthiness, intelligence, or dependability, can you really understand how insulting your own lack of trust in God must be to Him.

I remember the day I learned that lesson. I was arguing with our daughter, Emily, that two plus two was four, when she was convinced that it was three, because her teacher said so. It was frustrating that she had so little confidence in my mathematical abilities. I remember telling her, "Iím a CPA. Iím quite sure that Iím capable of understanding basic math."

Mature, I know, and thatís not the worst part. The worst part is that Iíve shown the same lack of trust in God by doubting His Word at times.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Thankfully, all of my parenting lessons havenít been toe crushers. Some have conveyed His love for me in ways I would have never thought possible. He used our son, Ryan, to teach me a lesson on His love for me.

Ryan suffered a stroke just prior to his birth and one of the side effects is that his vision has been delayed. One day, as I cried out to God asking him to please let my baby boy see my face, I suddenly realized how urgently He must want me, His child, to see His face.

Even though Ryan now wears glasses, each time we make eye contact Iím still in awe. In awe that he can see me, and in awe that such an awesome, loving God loves me and wants me to see Him.

Hebrews 2:6 (NIV)
But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

Matthew 5:8 (NIV)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

In all fairness, I did need a lesson on letting go and turning things over to God. He taught me that lesson one day as I was talking with Emily. I was telling her how thankful I was that Ryan was doing so well. Then I began to feel sick just remembering the months of Ryanís seizures. I was thinking, "No seizures since Thanksgiving. Thank you God! Gosh, that was awful!"

As my voice faded I realized that I was thinking out loud. Emily was surprised by my comment and asked why I hadnít told her about the seizures. I told her that it was "adult stuff" for Mom and Dad to handle and that she didnít need to worry about it.

Then my Teacher called a tutoring session. He asked why the seizures were "adult stuff."

I said, "Well, because she canít do anything about them and they would just scare her anyway."

I could almost hear Him say, "Hmmmm." I knew exactly what He meant. It seems that Iíve been consumed with some "God stuff" lately Ė scary medical and financial strain that I need to let God take care of since I canít do anything about them anyway.

Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Just this Sunday, our Pastor was telling the kids that learning in school isnít as much about learning when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, as it is about simply learning to learn.

If we can just take his advice and learn to learn from our children, the opportunities are endless. I pray that each conversation with your child will lead to a new divine revelation; an understanding of how He lovingly sees you Ė His child.

John 1:12 (NIV)
Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

Anita Howell has been married to Wes for seventeen years. They have two children, Emily 12 and Ryan 1. The past couple of years have been tough for the Howell family, with a miscarriage just before Ryanís birth, and then with his stroke and other health issues. Anita shares that writing down Godís word for their lives in her journal has brought peace and helped her keep her focus on Him. Anita has taught childrenís church for seven years and, along with writing, she says that the kids have helped her keep her eyes on Him.