hard learned parenting tips

My firstborn went and turned twenty this summer.

Parenting is hard work. It is all-consuming. It is simultaneously the greatest joy of my life, after my Jesus and my man. Mothering two boys to manhood these last 20 years has been good ground for the large amount of work the Lord had to do in this heart. Marriage has been the other platform where the Lord has completely restructured my heart, but that’s a post for another day.

After parenting, very imperfectly, these last 20 years with my man, I promise I am no expert. But there are a couple things I can say with great confidence that mattered in those 20 years, and will likely continue to matter as we parent these men into the next season.

1.We gotta listen to them. In Luke 10:38-42, Martha comes to Jesus with the request that He tell Mary, her sister, to help her with the preparations that need to be done for the large crowd that has come to visit. You know the story. Mary is choosing rightly, by listening to Jesus and leaving Martha to do the work. But what I love here more than anything is Jesus’s response. Verse 41 opens with “But the Lord answered her.” She asked a question and yet it says but He answered her. How is His answer is contradictive response? It’s because He does not respond to her request, “tell her to help me.” He responds to her heart. He responds to what is really going on behind her words. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things…”

What a gift to our hormonal, complaining, tired, hungry, weary children, when we, as parents, take the time to respond to what we see going on in their hearts rather than just the surface fixes that get them out of our hair. Sometimes a complainer is just feeling left out, or a hormonal, prickly teenager is needing a hug more than a lecture, or sometimes they just need a nap and a snack, just like us!

2. We gotta speak well of them. Ephesians 1:3 is a stunning verse in the original Greek. The verse contains 3 uses of the same root word meaning to speak well of, but we often it see it translated as “blessed” or “praised” in English. It certainly does mean blessed, but it is such a joy to see the depth of this original word in this context. Plugging the original word back into the verse gives us a peek into a beautiful truth. “Speak well of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who speaks well of us in Christ with every spiritual well speakings in the heavenly places.” This is telling us that right there in the heavenly places, where we later learn our enemy is at (Ephesians 6:12), is where God is speaking well about you and I, those who are in Christ.

What does that do for your confidence? I feel loved by that and far more able to walk by faith knowing He is telling my enemy right now that I am His faithful child and speaking well of me to the enemy.

Sinners who He rescued by His own sacrifice and who desperately need grace every day, they are the ones that He, the Holy and Perfect One, is always speaking well of. Mind blowing. If that is the case, how then can we, as parents, not speak well of our own children? What we say aloud about then is also what they will tend to live up to, or down to. What if they heard us praising them and what God is doing in them rather than complaining about their failings?

3. But most of all we gotta pray for them. John 17 it is our opportunity to peek into a prayer that the Son prayed to the Father just before returning to Heaven. And who does Jesus pray for? His disciples. Those He was walking with and those to come, those of us who follow Jesus right now in 2020 are part of those He prayed for.

Jesus didn’t nag and whine to His disciples, He prayed for them. You and I can be most effective in our parenting when it is paired with prayer. As my boys have aged, there are seasons when I felt prayer was all I had because they weren’t listening to my words. But the truth is it’s prayer that is most effective.

Prayer is just taking our children to the Lord. Talking to Him about them and asking HIs hand to be one them. Praying His word is the best way we can bring the power of prayer together with the strength of His promises. Whether your “kid” is 2 months old, 12 years old or 35 years old, the power of praying Scripture over them makes all the difference, in their life and yours too!

I have a beautiful resource to help you with this life-changing endeavor.

It is a prayer calendar with a verse or two for every day to pray over them. I have included the verse in prayer form so you can just plug in the name of the person you are praying for into the verse. Or you can pin up the beautiful prayer calendar and look up the verse each day in your Bible to pray.

To get your PDF prayer calendar, email me at


and I will gladly send it to your inbox!

2 thoughts on “hard learned parenting tips

  1. Yes, good tips and of course the most effective tip is to pray, pray, pray! Thanks Mariel we never stop, because no matter what age, they are always our children 😏

    1. Yes exactly, Sharon! I pray daily for my boys at 17 and 20 and I know my own mother is praying for me and my husband and brother even still!
      Thank you for reading and commenting <3

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