Parenting from the Overflow


I’m beginning to love the beginning of the year.

At first,  I thought the slow period after the holidays would be frustrating, but instead, God has made this season one of refreshment.

Our church is nearing the end of a 21-day corporate fast, a time when we encourage our members to join us in prayer as we seek direction for the new year. When you are a fast-paced person who prefers to be busy, slowing down can seem almost torturous--though necessary. However, as I dedicated my time to the Lord, I found that all the other areas of my life seemed to settle into a peaceful, joyful rhythm.

That’s the nature of fasting, prayer, and getting into the Word. When we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8). The outcome is peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Maybe the reason this season of fasting is so refreshing is because the focus is not on all the “need-tos” of day-to day life but on our Father.

The most encouraging thing about the refreshment we can enjoy from fasting is that it does not have to end after 21 days! Continuing to press in to God’s presence gives us continued access to His voice and His Spirit all year round!

Of course, when you have kids and have to make them meals, run them to basketball practice, etc., it may seem impossible to find time to be refreshed by the Lord outside of Sunday and Wednesday services. However, being refreshed does more than just help you feel better personally. It gives you the ability to pour out and be a source of peace to your family.

When your child colors on the wall, has a fight with his/her sibling, or receives another disciplinary note from his/her school, your reaction is based on to what extent you have refreshed yourself.

“Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, 'Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!
Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.)” John 7:37-39

Jesus is talking about you! When we come to Jesus and we spend time with him in prayer, we give ourselves access to this living water! The key is that we have to come to Him and drink before the living water can flow from our hearts.

When you take the time to refresh yourself in the presence of the Lord, you are fueling your ability to access this living water. So, instead of responding in a frustrated or apathetic manner to your child’s behavior, or even just their desire to talk to you about their day, you will be able to pour life into them!

I’ve heard it said that you get out what you put in. One of my mentors puts it this way: You can only minister to others out of the overflow of what you already have. And you do minister! As a parent, you are engaged in daily ministry to your children. When you fuel yourself by spending time in the presence of the Lord, you ensure that your children receive the overflow!

What is the overflow? When you listen to preaching, that overflow will be the Word of God. So, when your child comes to you with a need or a problem, you have access to Godly wisdom and perspective on his/her situation. You will be able to teach your child to handle situations like Jesus and not like the world! When you spend time with the Lord in prayer, you will have access to that refreshing spirit. Then your child and your family will be refreshed!

Think of the woman at the well! She had to draw water day after day. She had no permanent access. When Jesus offered her living water, she jumped at the opportunity. But, just like we have the ability to turn on or off our access to water at home, we have the ability to turn on or off our access to living water. When we make God a priority, we will overflow with His Spirit! But when we fail to press into His presence, it is like turning off the faucet. Eventually, we will use up the refreshment we received from the Lord the last time we were in His presence, and we will have nothing to offer our children, spouses, or hurting people in our life.

You were created to be a light to the World and especially to your family! Whatever your situation, there is a way to be refreshed! You can play sermons in the car while you are driving or cleaning; you can start and end your day with prayer. God will honor the time that you dedicate to Him, and you will see results in your life and your family!

Remember, the Lord desires to give you good gifts! What an amazing blessing to receive refreshment and empowerment that will affect your whole family!