We can enable our kids to abide in the love of the Father, by reflecting how he parents us: both body and soul.
This has massive implications for our parenting. We can’t shepherd their hearts without paying attention to what is happening to their bodies. And nurturing their bodies impacts their souls. What happens to one, will necessarily affect the other.
We see this in how our Father cares for us. He is a God who nurtures us through a myriad of scents, textures, sights and sounds. He calms our souls not only through his word but also through deep breaths, fresh air, and multiples shades of green.
God moves toward us in physical places and provides through them what we need. The beauty of the sunset over the desert in the Middle East helps regulate our emotions. The expansiveness of fields in Iowa grounds us, and help restore our sanity and think true thoughts about Him and ourselves.
Our Father cares about the body. He is compassionate about the complexity of the human brain and how profoundly it affects us.
When we struggle with fear, anxiety or depression, for example, he doesn’t just see it as a spiritual problem that needs training and discipline. He draws near to us, and takes care of our bodies’ need for rest and nurture (remember Elijah?).
Similarly, caring for our kids as embodied souls means we care for the whole child. I think all too often in Christian parenting we think that shepherding our kids’ hearts means mostly taking care of the spiritual and that physical care doesn’t impact their souls. But it does:
Daily long hugs
Brushing their hair
Getting down to their level & looking at them in the eye,
Feeding them breakfast, lunch and dinner (and all the snacks!), day after day after day
All these shape not only their brain but also their heart and soul.
This week I will share 3 things that help me care for my kids as a whole person. I would love to hear yours!