Parenting is a Group Effort

Stick Figure Family

I recently had my daughter wander off at the beach while everyone was occupied setting up our site. This was terrifying and I needed my neighbors at the beach to help to search and locate her. There were dozens of concerned beachgoers spreading the description of the girl we were trying to find. She is safe now, but I was reminded that I need other people to help me to parent well. It was intended that way and parenting alone is not a virtue to be celebrated.

I shared Kelly Rosati’s blog post on Facebook that resonated with me and I recommend that you check it out. The post displays 3 scenes in the church surrounding how we care for those in our charge and help those in our church family to do the same.

These 3 scenes are all good scenes where we can see God at work:

Scene 1 – The church is gathered to hear about the need, hurt, loss, grief, and broken effects of sin that are occurring outside of their midst. Those who have seen the need and thought “God needs to bring healing here so God’s people need to be here” are passionately relaying the message of God’s love for the fatherless. We need people to remind us continually of God’s word and what we may not see in the busyness of our day-to-day living.

Scene 2 – Christians who are striving to love as God has loved are talking to each other and sharing their struggles. They feel like they may be running on or close to empty but they can give each other only limited support. We need the honesty that is on display in this scene and need to confess our struggles so that God can give us the grace we need (I Peter 5:5).

Scene 3 – The same Christians meet but feel that they have “more in the tank” to parent well. They praise God for his goodness and for using the church as part of their family to help them. We need to work towards making this part of our church’s DNA since this is what we commit to during family dedications in our church.

These scenes show us some ways that we can act that will make us into a church that works together to welcome, love, and care for children that are in our charge. This isn’t anything new. We have an example in Acts of how God worked through the earliest church to meet each person’s need:

Acts 2:44-47a – And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.

Parenting alone is not a virtue. Trusting God to give us daily grace is how we live humbly and how God gets the glory. God’s timely grace often comes through other people in our family and we need to be ready to receive grace from other people and also we need to be ready for God to use us to give relief and encouragement to others. Parenting is a group effort and we need to nurture the reflex of helping the new tired foster busy adoptive parents who are in our church and lives.

True Compassion

I don’t have much of a memory of what was happening nationally and internationally in 1995. One vivid memory I do have is of the Oklahoma City Bombing. It wasn’t what I heard that was memorable but what I saw. I saw a photo on the cover of a magazine in a doctor’s office of a firefighter carrying the lifeless body of a child out of the wreckage. In the photo the fireman is fixed on the face of the child and likewise it was impossible for me to stop looking at this photo. What was captured in this snapshot of time was a moment of compassion.


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Who Should We Care For?

What does God want us to do?

If I had to pick one Bible verse to give an answer, I might choose I John 3:23 which says:

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

Believe and love. Got it. I know who to believe but who should I love? Everyone?! Okay so if everyone is my neighbor, then which neighbor should I love first?
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