We were on vacation, enjoying a visit with grandparents and cousins. The day before we left, my then ten-year-old son pouted and fussed to the point where I’d had it. I headed toward him to correct him.
Suddenly, in my thoughts, a quiet, powerful voice said, Stop. Do not bring discipline to Sam. Just ask him what’s wrong.
It was the voice of the Holy Spirit. I switched gears and said, “Sam, what’s wrong?”
“I’m going to miss Mitchell!” said Sam, bursting into tears.
I comforted my son as he wept at the thought of having to leave his cousin. Once he had a chance to let his feelings out, he was his cheerful self again.
Sam didn’t need correction for his attitude. He needed comfort.
Had I followed my understanding of parenting principles and dealt with him about his attitude, I would have unnecessarily wounded my son.
No matter how much knowledge of Scripture and biblical principles we may possess, the Holy Spirit is wiser than we are. He is our teacher, guide and comforter as we raise our children.
That’s why, amidst the plethora of parenting advice available today, the voice of the Holy Spirit is the one voice you can’t afford to ignore.
When my oldest son was thirteen, he did his chores one morning before heading to Little League practice with a neighbor. Later, I decided to check on the three-foot-high lilies I’d started from seeds to see if they’d bloomed yet.
Alas, my ambitious son had weed wacked my flowers to death!
I was really bummed. When my husband came home, I expressed my disappointment. Then Danny came home from practice, and his father scolded him for destroying my flowerbed.
Danny disappeared into his room. I started fixing supper. Then I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Tell Danny that he means more to you than any flowerbed ever will.”
In that moment, I recognized my disordered priorities.
I took Danny’s supper to his room and told him, “Danny, I know you made a mistake. Even though I’m disappointed, I just want you to know that you mean more to me than any flowerbed ever will.”
Gradually, Danny came out of hiding. I found out he’d had a hard day at practice and felt like every mistake was his fault. On top of that, he felt like a failure due to the week wacking incident.
As imperfect human parents, we may miss it with our kids –but the Holy Spirit knows exactly what they need.
My tendency as a parent was to lean toward authoritarian parenting, so the Holy Spirit often had to rein me in and remind me to soften my approach.
Maybe it’s different for you. Maybe you lean toward permissive parenting, and your tendency is to let your kids get away with stuff.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit is convicting you to deal with your children’s sin when you’d rather just be their buddy.
Here’s the beautiful thing: Every follower of Jesus has the Holy Spirit residing inside of them. He’s a person, and he has a relationship with us. His wisdom and comfort are always available.
He doesn’t speak in an audible voice (at least, I’ve never heard him that way). He speaks to our human spirits through our thoughts. Although his instructions may go beyond our human understanding, they are always consistent with God’s Word and God’s character.
Wherever we lack understanding, wherever we may be out of balance, he is faithful to lead and guide us as we raise our children.
Can you describe a time when the Holy Spirit spoke to you about your parenting?