I remember the third night that my wife, Rachel, and I were parents… I had NO CLUE what I was doing! It was 3 a.m., and it was our first night home with our new baby boy, Elijah. I was BEYOND any form of tired that I had ever felt, and he wouldn’t stop crying.

I remember handing him to Rachel, going out to our couch and collapsing in it. I cried and said, “I can’t do this!”

People, this was NIGHT 3! Did I ever have a journey ahead of me as a dad! I was so weak and needed help! I didn’t know how to be a dad to a baby- no matter how many classes we went to or messages I had heard on parenting up to that point, I was crazy unprepared.

I think sometimes the feeling of “unpreparedness” can paralyze us. Several years ago, I was talking to a mom about her daughter who was 14 and was really struggling. She was so confused as to what had gone wrong or awry to make her daughter struggle with self-harm/self-worth in the way that she was. There wasn’t one specific thing that contributed to it 100 percent, but as we unpacked their lives, there was a common denominator… sometimes, we just don’t know what to do and how to do it in this life, whether it be parenting, spouse-ing, working, life-ing, etc… and we need help!

Fortunately for us, if we are willing to follow Him, God has incredible truth for us. In Deuteronomy 6 in the Bible, Moses is chattin’ with the people of Israel. He said the following: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give to you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

None of these words Moses said (that were given to Him by God) say “Be Perfect” or “You won’t fail” or “If you just try harder at them”. But it is evident that what he was about to tell the people was super important, and the more areas of their life that they could fill with these things, the better off they would be!

So here are a few of things Moses encouraged them to impress on their children: Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, serve Him, do not follow the gods of the people around you, do not put the LORD to the test, and do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight so that it might go well with you.

I write these things to all of us today, because I believe that sometimes what we need is right in front of us — we just need to look in the right place for it.

As some of you parent, foster parent or grandparent, know that your role is so important — and your kids/foster kids/grandkids will be incredibly blessed to have people in their lives who are modeling who they are created to be and encouraging them in doing the same. We walk in that by following Him, living in relationship with Him, and doing what He calls us to as people and parents, just as Moses called the people of Israel to thousands of years ago.

— Josh Keller is youth minister at Cornerstone Church in Litchfield.

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