As a parent to teenagers, I can say confidently that the core passion of my life is the intention of raising wholehearted kids. The process of participating with God’s initiation of the children entrusted to my care into mature and wholehearted adults brings more joy with every passing year. And there are few other arenas quite so adept at exposing the unfinished places within my own soul, beckoning me more deeply into my own masculine initiation.
When I step back from the day-by-day activities of parenting, I notice big ideas that have profoundly shaped the lens through which I see this process. In hopes of providing you with soul-strengthening care, I’ve written a seven-day reflection, Secrets to Raising Wholehearted Kids.
Here’s one reflection as a sample:
RESPONDING TO AND PARTICIPATING WITH GOD’S PLANS
FOR OUR CHILDREN
I’ll be brutally honest: my wife’s body looked like the back of one of those old desktop computers with wires, connected to machines, coming out of every part of her. This is not what we signed up for when we dreamed of the birth of our first child. We had gone to the natural childbirth classes. We had prayed that Joshua would come into the world without the use of medical intervention. That was my wife’s dream, and I was committed to making it happen.
Until, in the eighth month of pregnancy, the levels of her amniotic fluid were decreasing with each passing week. Eventually the only safe option was to induce labor. Medication begat medication and in the end, though my wife gave birth to a healthy child, the labor was not at all the story we had hoped for. Better said, it was not what we had planned for our son’s birth.
In the midst of this story, while I took a lap around the hospital in the tenth hour of labor, God spoke:
“Morgan, I have sacred and joy-filled plans for your son. My plans are my plans; they are not your plans. I am inviting you to put to death your agenda and participate with my story for your son’s life. We can do this together if you want. And you have my word—it’ll be life as it was meant to be.”
I returned to my wife and confessed how much my plans for our son could get in the way of God’s intentions. Not simply in birth, but in life.
I was reminded how deeply I do desire God’s plans for my children, for my wife, for all he has entrusted to my care. But I can’t receive his plans into my hands until I open up my tightly clenched fists, letting go of all the good plans I’m carrying, acknowledging that many of which have nothing to do with God or with pervasive inner transformation.
The Father honors us by leading us to a place where we can’t have both a clenched fist and an open heart. We must become the kind of people who believe that God’s maturing and initiation of our sons and daughters is at the epicenter of his intention, and that nothing brings him more joy than shepherding the wholehearted growing up of his kids. When his commitment becomes our core belief, the pressure comes off, both the big and the small. We begin listening with our hearts. We find ourselves curious instead of frightened, and we begin to ask God what his plans and dreams are for our children. Only from this heart-space of curiosity and trust can we take our place and participate with him in their initiation. Only then can we rest. Only then can we thrive.
- Make a list of ten dreams or goals you have for your kids. After making that list, reflect on these dreams. Are these God’s unique dreams for them? How much have you inquired about his heart and his intentions on this matter? How will you react if any of these specific dreams you have don’t come to pass?
- What are you holding onto so tightly that you are unable to open your heart to courageously and vulnerably trust that God eagerly anticipates shepherding your children into his best for them (and therefore for you)?
I pause in celebration of Father’s Day. All you fathers and the fathers you know who are making hidden choices to become more mature and wholehearted—I celebrate who you are and who you’re becoming. I pray this gift will strengthen fathers and families around the globe. We can do this together!
Download the Secrets to Raising Wholehearted Kids and pass it along to anyone you know who would benefit from it.
For the Kingdom,