As mission-minded parents, our goal is not to raise "our" kids to be happy and successful (so others are impressed by our parenting skills). Instead, we're called to raise "His kids" to be holy and submitted to God (so God gets all the glory!).
Let's not just raise "good little kids" who will merely sit still in church and do what they're told. Instead, let's raise dangerous men and daring daughters who will advance God's kingdom.
Let's be like that mighty warrior described in Psalms 127. Instead of holding our "arrows" so tightly (trying to keep our kids "safe" and "saved" by our own self-efforts), let's aim our kids into adulthood, into whatever spheres of society God calls them to, with momma-hearts of total surrender.
One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 2:10,
"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Every one of our kids is designed by God with unique talents, strengths, weaknesses, personalities, desires, and spiritual gifts.
Our job as Christian parents is to diligently train our kids (Deut. 6:4–9) to walk in God's unique path. As "stewards" of our kids, God has entrusted us with the responsibility to train each one for God's specific life-calling. We are called to raise sons and daughters in childhood (Jer. 1:5), in youth (1 Tim. 4:12), and into adulthood to live for God's glory and His eternal purposes.
I just love Psalm 144:12,
"May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace."
Let's raise our sons to be strong and mature–diligent, dependable, hard-working, spiritually-minded, able to lead and to serve.
Let's raise our daughters to be daring–beautiful pillars of stability in our family and home, in the church, and in the lives of those who need Jesus.
Let's train our kids to be mature (at every age, even in middle school and high school)—not led by fleshly or selfish desires, but led with a heart of radical obedience.
Sometimes, it's not easy. In our family, our guys have faced all kinds of dangers, from ministering in Rwandan genocide prisons, preaching in war-torn Sudan, surviving a life-threatening Antarctica storm, to climbing mountains and heading to war.
Our daughters have ministered to orphans in Uganda, India, Niger, and Cambodia; they have hearts for troubled inner-city teens and for those trapped in human trafficking.
Through it all, I've come to realize fear is not my friend. Worry is not the responsible momma-attitude for me to have. Instead, I choose to be a warrior (in prayer), not a worrier. By God's grace, I choose faith, not fear—to raise strong sons and daring daughters to help advance the kingdom of God. Daily, I choose to be a mission-minded mom . . . and oh, what a joy!
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4).
Want to develop your children's gifts while giving them a vision for God's kingdom? Listen to or read "Mission-Minded Families" Ann Dunagan and Nancy Leigh DeMoss talk about how to do just that.