Like many parents who have small kids, I’m tired and weary. All the time. All day. Every day. Each day, I wake up knowing that I didn’t fully recover from the previous day. However, in order to not shipwreck my life, my marriage, and my kids, I’ve made the following list of priorities. These priorities aren’t rocket science, but I do think they are helpful for long-term parenting success.
Put God First
Before we got married and again before we had kids, our spiritual mentors continually asked us to do one thing: put God first. Many of those mentors had decades and decades in the tank, and they knew what was up. They knew that if we didn’t prioritize God as the treasure of our lives, we would collapse quickly.
God is an encourager and a comforter. He heals tired bodies and weary souls. We thank God every day for wise men and women who told us the truth early and often about our heavenly father.
Put Your Spouse Second
It would’ve been easy to put kids second on this list, but that would be society talking not scripture. The holy word is clear in that we are to love God as much as humanly possible (and then some) and to love our neighbor just as much. Since there’s only one God, that command is easy. However, the second command is just as easy—if we remember who our closest neighbor is. Our closest neighbor isn’t our kids, it’s our spouse. If husbands and wives take care of each other, everything else will be fine.
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But what if a spouse isn’t around to pursue? If that’s the case, we can still put God first, can’t we? We can weave holiness into our singleness, and use God’s word to raise our kids the best we can.
Put Your Kids Last
Finally, the aforementioned kids who keep us weary and tired all the time. Those kids who only have runny noses and upset stomachs when the pediatrician is closed. Children who have soccer practice seemingly every day and twice on Sunday. Teens who talk back, and we’re frustrated because they sound just like us as teens.
As kids, they need to be disciplined well and trained well. Proverbs 22:6 NIV says, “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” We can’t follow the spirit of that verse without first knowing what “the way” is. The way is wholeheartedly making God and marriage a priority. If we aren’t doing those two things, we need to repent and diligently take actions to make things right.