Everything we do is shaping our kids into who they will become. Is our obedience to God’s calling ruining our kids’ lives?
By Holly Knight
God has asked me to do a lot of insane things—starting with getting married at 19 (never part of my plan), moving to Dallas (when I wanted Nashville), giving birth to three babies (when I only wanted two kids,) adopting two babies from Uganda (when I only wanted two kids), and moving our family of seven to New York City. Who does all that? Then, we moved our family of seven back to Dallas mid-pandemic. Who does that? And now, my husband and I are in a season of ministry that has us out of town almost every weekend. To outsiders, it may appear we’ve lost our minds. But somehow God has led us every step of the way.
I’ve always said if it were just my husband Bradley and me, we would go anywhere, do anything, live anywhere, at any cost, to serve the Lord. But with five kids in the mix, I’m not as quick on the draw. Every decision, every move, every step directly affects these five lives. Everything we do is shaping them into who they will become. Every step (and misstep) is forming their theology and their view of God. If I think about this long enough, it becomes totally overwhelming. The responsibility of being called to serve God and also raise five godly children is too great a weight to bear sometimes. How can I be sure my complete obedience to God is not simultaneously ruining my kids’ lives?
I’ve been wrestling with this for years.
Our calling impacts our kids
God clearly called our family to adoption. When we adopted our Ugandan babies in 2012, I struggled with how it would affect my three biological daughters. Were we inviting unnecessary pain, heartache, and headache into our home? I had heard so many horror stories of adoptions gone wrong and not nearly enough stories of adoptions gone right. Of course, adopting our two babies has been the biggest blessing and the greatest joy of our lives. We could not possibly imagine our home without them.
When we moved to New York in 2017, we knew God had called us there. Yet I struggled. I remember sobbing, telling my friend I felt like I was feeding my kids to the wolves. Up until then, our children lived in a pristine bubble called Plano, Texas. They attended a private, Christian school. Their friends were all from upper-class Christian families. Their environment was completely controlled. And there’s nothing wrong with any of this. In fact, in many ways, it was a blessing. But God called us away from it.
Did we feed our kids to the wolves with our move from tidy Texas to gritty New York City? Yes. Were they thrown into a lion’s den of information, lifestyles, poverty, and culture shock they had never been exposed to? Yes. And if God called us, would I move them back to New York to do it all again tomorrow? Yes.
Is it worth it?
At the end of 2020, God led us to move our family back to Texas. I struggled with this move, too. We had been part of an incredibly diverse community in New York. My kids were exposed to different cultures and traditions. Their eyes and hearts were open to a multitude of those less fortunate. They were surrounded by people who were different than them. The diversity of our environment was life-giving. They had experiences and opportunities in New York we could never replicate in Dallas. Were we taking a step backward by removing our kids from the colorful tapestry of the city? Yes. Were we disorienting their souls and sense of identity by uprooting them once again and moving across the country? Yes.
Are you feeling my distress? This is not a new dilemma for me. I have been anguishing over this for years because God has been calling me to do crazy things for years.
Is my obedience to God’s calling ruining my kids’ lives? The answer, unequivocally, is no.God’s calling on our lives is also His calling on our kids’ lives. — @heyhollyknight Click To Tweet
In all my wrestling with the Lord, He’s been so gracious with me. He’s assured me again and again, and I believe this to my bones: His plan for Bradley and me is also His plan for our children.
God’s calling on our lives is also His calling on our kids’ lives.
God’s anointing on our lives is also His anointing on our kids’ lives.
His grace for our lives is also His grace for our kids’ lives.
God’s strength for our lives is also His strength for our kids’ lives.
In other words, as long as these five humans are under our roof and in our care, God’s plan for us as parents is also His plan for our children.
Our calling is for our family
And it gets better. God’s plan for us collectively as a family is also his plan for us individually as His sons and daughters. God has something specific He wants to cultivate in each of my kids’ lives along our family’s journey. God is accomplishing His unique plan for each of us separately as He’s accomplishing his grand plan for us corporately.
One of the most significant and comforting Bible verses that has profoundly ministered to me in recent years is Isaiah 40:11 (NIV): “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”The God who calls you to fulfill His assignments (big and small) loves your children more than you could ever imagine. — @heyhollyknight Click To Tweet
Is this not a breath of fresh air in your lungs? Let this wash over you today. The God who calls you to fulfill His assignments (big and small) loves your children more than you could ever imagine. You can absolutely rest on the promises found in this verse.
1. God will provide for your family
“He tends his flock like a shepherd.” He will make sure you have everything you need to accomplish your purpose. He will equip you to do every good work He has called you to. You will lack nothing.
2. God will protect your children
“He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” As you follow God on the path He leads you, He’s carrying your children—not you. You were never meant to carry your kids through this life. You’re not strong enough. Hand them over to the Good Shepherd. He loves them more than you do.
3. God will empower you
“He gently leads those that have young.” He knows this life is hard and the weight you carry as a parent. He knows you’re exhausted from holding it all together. God knows you beat yourself up over every choice you make and how you never feel like you’re doing a good enough job. He knows the guilt you carry. He knows your struggles. And with more grace than you could ever imagine, He gently leads you as you make decisions for your children, serve your family, and do the holy work of parenting. He’s gently leading you. And He’s filling you with His power to get the job done.God gently leads you as you make decisions for your children, serve your family, and do the holy work of parenting. And He’s filling you with His power to get the job done. — @heyhollyknight Click To Tweet
God’s got our kids. And He’s leading us parents with so much grace, kindness, and gentleness. His plan for all of us (including our children) is specific and good. Will we be throwing our kids into the lion’s den when we follow God wherever He leads? Probably. But our Good Shepherd is also one heck of a lion tamer. Our children will have a front-row seat to the unlimited power and protection that our glorious God offers to those who belong to Him. And this will become part of their testimonies. God is carrying our babies close to His heart along the path as He leads us. God’s got your kids. Keep following Him.
Holly felt God’s calling to serve the Christian community early in life. Since 2002, she has served the local church alongside her husband Bradley. They’re the proud parents of Ava, Greta, Harper, James, and Jolie. She is the author of Stubborn Obedience, which details the faithfulness of God during their family’s adoption process.