I remember sitting in active labor having cervical contractions that felt like fire
radiating out of my innermost being and wondering if there weren’t some better
way to bring babies into the world. And, Jesus spoke calmly in my ear, “It’s a
long hard way to the cross, isn’t it.” This was just one little piece in the lesson
that led to my teaching “covenant parenting” and that we enter into a covenant
with our children at their birth.
Many people don’t understand covenants, so let me take a second here and
share some information on it. Contracts have conditions and can be broken.
Covenants are binding unto death. Marriage is a covenant—”till death do us
part”, sound familiar? The way to enter into a covenant is for a sacrifice to be
made, an animal to be cut in two and both parties to the covenant to walk
through the two halves and say, “Be it unto me as it is to this animal if I break
this covenant”, or “Till death do us part.” Salvation is an eternal
covenant—even death can’t do us part. Jesus was the sacrifice that was split so
that we might enter into relationship with God through Jesus. God initiated the
covenant on the cross and we walk through first in faith (accepting that the
covenant has been extended to us), and then in baptism (where we symbolically
experience Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and walk the WAY—Jesus is
the Way). And parenting is a covenant. Mom is split open so that her child can
enter the world. A promise is made when that occurs that is till death do us
part—I will be your mother and you will be my child.
One thing about a covenant is it requires 100% of both parties. A man who
entered into a covenant in Biblical days was pledging to risk his entire family,
fortune and even life if his covenant partner ever needed him. It might mean he
had to go to war, or abandon his comfort for the sake of his friend. And the
same was expected in return. With parenting, we are called to give 100% while
our children are babies and then over the years that balance evens out a bit until
we get old and our children might be called on to give 100% to care for us in
our old age. Usually the quality of care an elderly parent gets is directly related
to the quality of parenting they gave their child.