"The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you to fear the Lord" – Psalms 34, verses 10-11.
As many of our family and friends are aware, my husband and I are expecting our first child this July. It has been a rollercoaster ride for us but finally we have both reached that sense of peace and true anticipation towards having our first child.
As Christians, we both agree on a lot of our own parenting style even though we both came from quite different upbringings. However I feel that God has intentionally made us this way so that we can both bring in the different ways of parenting that still condone the same moral values we want to instil in our children.
In the very first chapter of Proverbs, God clearly speaks to us to fear Him, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1 verse 7.
As new parents, there is so much information and advice out there, ones that are genuine and worthy and some that are biased and sound ridiculous to us. There isn't a one go-to resource book for being a parent. And I have no doubt that we will be learning our whole lives. However, the most important thing to both of us is not that we raise intelligent, successful, financially independent children, although those things are definitely good and worthy.
To us, we feel the most important aspect of parenthood is if we can raise our children to fear the Lord. For it is fear of the Lord that allows us to be guided and instructed by Him, living a life full of hope, mercy, forgiveness and grace. For though wealth, intelligence, a house, a car are all good things to want for our children, these are temporary things that can be taken away or lost any time. But fear and faith in God is everlasting.
We know that a child is never too young to be taught the way of the Lord and to train up our child the way he should go in the Lord, for the Lord says: "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it" – Proverbs 22 verse 6.
One of the things my husband and I want to do before our baby's arrival is to come up with a list of values, family guidelines that we will frame up in our wall and will always be the go-to in raising our children. Rather than turning into the secular world full of contradicting and sometimes confusing advice for new parents, we have chosen to seek the word of God and allow God to be our rock and direction for how we raise our children.
At the end of the day, we may not be perfect parents, and we may not be able to provide the world to our children. We may sometimes fail terribly but we will learn to trust in God and find joy in all circumstances. We know if we continually seek the Lord and place Him in not only in the centre of our relationship but our family, God will be our Salvation and Redeemer.
When our child is born, not only will we raise them in the eyes of the Lord, but we will also love them as much as God loves us. And I will always want my children to know these verses – "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" – Psalm 139 verses 13-14.
Just like how I will always be a child of God who has made me in His image, so will our children know how precious they are not just to us, but even more so to God.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa completed a BSc. in Molecular Biology at the University of Western Australia and is now working as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Western Australia, where she is part of a research team studying therapies for lung cancer.
Clarissa Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html