Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” KJV
In Genesis 21 verses 20 and 21 they talk about Ishmael growing up in the wilderness, where God was with him, but he eventually settled there. Then he married a woman from the great place of Egypt. In one of my earlier posts I mentioned how Ishmael means “God hears”. God gave his mom, Hagar, that name as a result of her encounter with Him in Genesis 16.
After reading chapter 21, I got a little “perturbed” with Hagar! LOL. Why? Thanks for asking! I got perturbed with Hagar because she allowed her son to not only just GROW UP in the wilderness, but he SETTLED there. In my opinion that is the furthest thing from being good. If I could jump into the text for a quick minute, I would like to ask Hagar, “Did you happen to share those awesome encounters that you had with God, with your son?”, “Did you tell him how God provided a way OUT for you when you were in the wilderness?”. That’s just to name a couple.
Genesis 21:20 – “And God was with the boy as he grew up in the wilderness. He became a skillful archer…”
I like to think in my small level of thinking that Ishmael had a great amount of grace on his life because of the promise God made with Abraham and Hagar, individually. As he grew up, he was covered. Not only was he covered but he was blessed with a gift as well. I think that is awesome. As a single mother I think this is very relevant to point out. Sometimes I have found myself taking for granted the promise God made with me before I had my daughter. I am not saying that I am perfect, but at times when I start slacking in my prayer life I wonder what enemy have I neglected to ward off while my daughter is trying to find her way in this big world. Mrs. Stormie Omartian mentioned in her book, The Power of a Praying Parent, “Things happen when we pray that will not happen when we don’t pray. What might happen, or might not happen, to our children if we don’t pray today?” With help from this book, I have learned to pray for my daughter with purpose. Of course as a parent, we like to pray for our child’s safety, but what about their gifts given to them from God or forming Godly relationships and friendships. This book helped me realize it is more to my prayer life, on behalf of my child, than what the natural eye can see!
Genesis 21:21 – “and he settled in the wilderness of Paran. His mother arranged for him to marry a woman from the land of Egypt.”
If only you could have seen my eyebrow after I read this. It was kind of like The Rock’s “raised eyebrow”. I was so over Hagar! LOL. It’s one thing for Ishmael to grow up there but it is a whole new ball game to allow him to settle there. I can hear someone saying, “Well he is grown now”! And contrary to popular belief, I have no doubt that he probably was! But using Hagar as an example…
The point I am trying to make is that as a single, Christian-mother I believe it is very important for us to share our faith with our child(ren). This world is one big wilderness all by itself. Thank God we’re just “in” the world but not “of” the world. (John 15:19) Therefore, we should make (continuous) efforts to share our faith with our children, as well as train them to develop their own faith. In order to share faith with my daughter, my goal is to read a chapter, or two, out her bible every night and also pray with her. I have also started a journal. In this journal, I write words of wisdom, note-worthy moments of her life, and what God has done along the way as our Protector and Provider. One of my earnest prayers is that she’ll continue to grow in God, never straying!!! But I know life still has to take its course and she has to accept God for herself. So I was inspired to start the journal to leave a family tradition, but also for her to have when those days come that I won’t be able to be in her presence everyday.
As a part of my journey, I have made a conscious decision not to let my daughter develop a wilderness mentality. I want to do as much as possible to keep God in her life first. At times, it is a struggle. It gets costly, especially as it pertains to her education. There are some days where I feel too tired to keep to our routine. But the one thing that keeps me going is my parenting motto, it is the very foundation of how I want to parent:
“I may not be ready for her to leave the NEST, but I know I have prepared her for the TEST.”