Confident parenting: Barefoot before the perfect Father

Published on May 28, 2021

“Didn’t you know? We live like animals around here,” I said, a bit embarrassed. 

The other mom’s face lit up, “Oh, we don’t have screens, either,” she smiled, watching my daughter climbing through our window, cradling a rabbit. “But I did notice your kids don’t wear shoes very often.” 

She listed the various times and events she’d witnessed my shoeless children. Funny thing, I don’t recall half of the times she mentioned. Apparently, there’s a crack in my parenting. 

Jesus, help me. I truly am raising animals. My head sunk back as they waved goodbye. 

The admission slipped out in a single breath: Jesus, there are so many holes in my parenting. 

His Spirit whipped back sharp and clear: It’s OK. I can make them holy. 

God isn’t surprised that I’m not a perfect mom. If my kids do miraculously grab a shoe, they can’t find the other one anyway! Still, I imagine he delights in watching their naked toes running through the grass. 

Parenting on a battlefield

He must’ve been pleased with his servant Moses, barefoot before the burning bush, and with Joshua, a mighty warrior, barefoot before the battle. “Take off your sandals,” he commanded them, “for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5; Joshua 5:15). 

Holy translates to “set apart.” Before both men were commissioned into a form of battle, God first asked them to remove their shoes. I couldn’t help but think of how parenting sometimes feels like a battlefield. Is God asking us to remove our shoes as well? Why? 

In ancient culture, removing one’s shoes had great significance. It could signify many things: reverence, submission, the redemption of property, transfer of power, showing the legality of a purchase, or even a symbol of giving up one’s rights. 

It is a symbol of relinquishing control, humbling ourselves, and knowing our lives are holy because of God’s presence in us and around us. 

Our lives are holy ground

Yes, God can make the holes in my parenting holy. He can replace my anxiety with peace, exhaustion with a renewed mind, and frustration with joy. For this to happen, however, I need to give up my parental rights and hand them over to the perfect Father. 

There are areas in the hearts of my children that I can’t reach, no matter how hard I strain. 

The tears I don’t see. The pain they don’t share. The lies they believe. The innocence I can’t protect. 

These places, our lives, are holy ground. They must be set apart for the Lord. There is freedom when we learn to surrender our children to the perfect Father. 

Because, let’s be honest, we never get the whole story of what happens at school; it isn’t possible to intercept every cruel word and relationship thrown at them. Sometimes things slip between the cracks. 

God’s love is bigger

No matter how hard we try, there will be days our kids aren’t wearing shoes at Costco. Sometimes this happens because all the time we are just human. Human parents, stomping around in our big ol’ boots, thinking we’ve got this parenting thing all figured out. 

We think we love our kids more than God loves them. 

Mamma Bears, you know we are guilty of this. This lie violently twists and tightens around our shoes, making it feel impossible to ever take them off in submission. I’d lay down my life for my children in a heartbeat! But their Father in heaven already has given everything for them. 

I can’t beat that. I can’t love as God does. 

He fits us for readiness and peace

When we yank those shoes off, the rocky terrain of faith may bruise and bloody our sensitive soles. Praise God! We have a Savior who kneels and cradles those steadfast mamma feet. He gently washes and restores. Tenderly fitting them with readiness and peace, he prepares us to follow him into battle (Ephesians 6:15). 

God’s ways are better for our children because his love is bigger. No parenting class, yoga pose, discipline strategy, special smoothie, or supplement will help us to fill in the tender areas where we fail as parents. 

I want us to be a generation of parents bowing before the Great I AM, taking off our shoes, and declaring, “Only through his strength can we battle for the lives of our children!” He is the only Father who can comfort their silent whimpers, mend their broken spirits, heal their bruised hearts, and whisper directly to their souls, “You are loved, you are seen,” when we cannot. 

We must intentionally dedicate them to the heavenly Father, who never fails. Parenting is holy ground. Let us be barefoot before the Lord.

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Jenna Marie Masters

Jenna is a speaker and writer who lives in Southern California with her hubs, their three bio kids, and their newly adopted foster daughter! She’s the “Parenting Toddlers & Tweens” writer for The Joyful Life Magazine. She also contributes to Christian Parenting, Home Front Magazine, and Truly Co and is on the writing team for The Devoted Collective.

Jenna holds a Master’s/Seminary Degree in Christian Ministry and Pastoral Counseling but is only interested in using it to lead other mamas into intimacy with Christ.

Things that matter most: Jesus. Family. Fellowship. Words. Cappuccinos. Crockpots. Paper plates. Summer. Live music. Eating outside. “The Cookie” from Bristol Farms. Bluey.

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