For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.–Romans 8:38-39

Caring for Our Children as Humble Stewards not Anxious Owners


Boy, can I identify with this prayer!

This is re-posted from A Prayer for Parenting and Re-parenting by Grace by Pastor Scotty Smith, who blogs at

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Ps. 127:1-3

Heavenly Father, it’s a peace-generating joy and a heart-liberating privilege to address you as the architect and builder of your own house—including the household of faith and our children’s place in your family.

As I look back over the years of my pragmatic parenting, I’m saddened, but I am also gladdened, for you’ve always been faithful to your covenant love, even when I was overbearing and under-believing. The move from parenting by grit to parenting by grace has been a fitful but fruitful journey. Take me deeper; take me further.

You’ve rescued me from parental “laboring in vain”—assuming a burden you never intended parents to bear. Father, only you can reveal the glory and grace of Jesus to our children. Only you can give anyone a new heart. You’ve called us to parent as an act of worship—to parent “as unto you,” not as a way of saving face, making a name for ourselves, or proving our worthiness of your love.

Oh, the arrogant pride of thinking that by my “good parenting” I can take credit for what you alone have graciously done in the lives of my children. Oh, the paralyzing unbelief of assuming that by my “bad parenting” I’ve forever limited what you will be able to accomplish in the future. Oh, the undue pressure our children must feel when we parent more out of our fear and pride than by your love and grace.

Since our children and grandchildren are your inheritance, Father, teach us—teach me, how to care for them as humble stewards, not as anxious owners. Help us to appreciate and celebrate the uniqueness of our children. Should you give them a personality and passion, gifts and callings other than what we would choose for them, give us grace to enjoy, rather than just endure who they are. More than anything else, show us how to parent and grandparent in a way that most powerfully reveals the unsearchable riches of Jesus in the gospel.

Give us quick repentances and observable kindnesses. Restore the years eaten away by the locusts of both co-dependent parenting and non-engaged parenting. Write wonderful stories of redemption and restoration. Convict us quickly and surely when we don’t relate to your covenant children “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Gal. 2:14 NIV). So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ powerful and faithful name.

Author: Kristie

Kristie is a pastor's wife, mom, Bible teacher, and author of His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God, which will be released in September. She currently serves as the Associate Director of Women's Workshops for the Charles Simeon Trust, helping to equip women Bible teachers. She joyfully supports her husband of almost 28 years, Thabiti, as he pastors Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC. They have 3 children. She has written contributions to the ESV Women's Devotional Bible; Word-Filled Women's Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church; Women on Life: A Call to Love the Unborn, Unloved and Neglected; and Hospitality Matters: Reviving an Ancient Practice for Modern Missions. Her work can also be found at The Front Porch, The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, Christianity Today, and Revive Our Hearts. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@kanyabwile).

3 thoughts on “Caring for Our Children as Humble Stewards not Anxious Owners

  1. This post hits my heart…

    I’ve been at both ends of that unbilical response–
    Internally taking credit for “positive parenting outcomes” and also blaming myself (taking credit/blaming myself) for disobedient hearts.
    Both deny God as the changer-of-hearts…

    We’ve seen His faithfulness with our older kiddos (their stories are not near complete, but so far they all 3 have hearts tender to Him and have professed faith in Christ), but we still have a little-little whose heart is so full of foolishness and disobedience right now. She’s a beautiful gift from Him and brings so much JOY to our home, but she still chooses disobedience so often. It scares me and I do start to become fearful and anxious…this is such a good reminder of God’s design in parenting and that I want to pray more for her heart and that I can trust His ability to reach her.
    I LOVE that phrase…
    Help me to parent as a humble steward, not as an anxious owner.

  2. As a home school teacher what is your greatest challenge with non-compliant behaviour?

    • As a homeschool teacher, and as a parent, my greatest challenge is in bringing my child’s non-compliance under the lens of Scripture, both in terms of my own consistency in pointing to the truth of God’s Word, as well as speaking in ways that my child can understand and apply. I am very quick to correct and rebuke, but often have to remind myself to help my child see the heart issues that are driving their misbehavior.

      Secondarily, I find that my children misbehave more when they are tired, hungry, or have had too much free time before we get our school day started. Children thrive well in a structured environment where expectations are clear, and where rules are consistently enforced.

      Sometimes children are non-compliant because they are bored. So, it’s best to keep the school day varied and moving at a steady pace. In a private or public school setting (where I’ve also taught), teachers have to “teach to the middle” and hope to hit the various learning styles of the children in their classes. As a homeschooling parent, we have the added advantage of teaching to our child’s learning style, and engaging them in activities and courses of study that interest them.

      Lastly, when it comes to boys especially, they need frequent breaks and time to just run around and burn off energy! 🙂

      Hope this helps.

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