Protecting the Birds in Your Nest

Yesterday, my husband and I discovered a pair of Carolina wrens had begun building a nest in a watering can on our back patio. We watched off and on all day as the wrens worked tirelessly bringing twigs, straw and bits of grass back to the nest, making a sturdy, covert home for their future family. The nest is tucked away in the bottom of the can and under the cover of our porch, protecting it from the sun and rain, but my husband and I still worry that any number of predators on our wooded property will eventually make a feast of the eggs or hatchlings. We often see raccoons, foxes, snakes and hawks, all of which would eat those eggs in a skinny minute. We decided there isn’t much we can do but watch and hope that the babies make it out alive.

Watching those wrens made me think about our own empty nest. All of our children are married and living on their own and we are so thankful for God’s protection of them as they were growing up. But when they were at home and still in the nest, we knew it was our job to protect them from the dangers of the world and to strengthen and shape them into confident, kind and caring adults.

Can we protect our children from the world’s influence? What are the biggest dangers out there today?

Well, the secular ideology of the world is everywhere. The culture has forgotten the basics of gender, decency and order. The Bible and Judeo-Christian values seem to be relics of the past. And common sense has left the building. It certainly sounds dire, doesn’t it?

But God is still on His throne and Christian families everywhere are more determined than ever to raise their children to stand firm on the Word of God. Hopefully, you are one of those families.

What can you do to protect your kids? Well, here are a few things to think about:

Take your children to church where they can hear what God (the creator of the universe) says about who they are and who He is. Many churches have vibrant youth programs where your teen can be under the influence of a godly youth minister. It’s good to have an additional Christian adult that your teenager can go to for wise counsel when necessary. The best youth ministers, however, know that they are a partner with you in your child’s spiritual development (and you are the senior partner). At church your child can learn that God has a plan and purpose for their life and that they are infinitely loved by Him. They can gain tools to help them navigate life’s twists and turns.

But, church should not be the only place they hear about spiritual things. After all, they are only there a few hours a week. You are the primary spiritual discipler of your child. Make it a point to have family devotions and to pray with your kids. Talk about spiritual things, and bring spiritual concepts into everyday situations. Use biblical principles when guiding them through tough issues.

If at all possible, put your children in a Christian school (many of them offer scholarships so be sure to ask) or connect with a homeschool organization. If your children are in a public school, know what they are being taught and be involved. It is you who is in charge of their welfare and character development. God has given you this responsibility.

Know who your children’s friends and influences are. Start when your children are young teaching them about friendship—their closest friends should be believers (or from believing families) who are attempting to walk the same path of obedience to Christ. Spend time with other Christian families when your kids are young. Help them grow those friendships. They will have a wider group of friends, of course, who may or may not attend church, which gives your child the opportunity to be a positive, Christian influence.

Monitor and limit your children’s exposure to entertainment and technology. It is full of language, visuals, and ideas that are contrary to scripture. Know what they are listening to and watching. Of course they will complain! But you are the parent!

Discuss important issues of the day with your child, according to their maturity. If you don’t talk about your beliefs on issues like gender, equity, sanctity of life, marriage, etc., they will only hear what the world has to say. We want them to know what God’s Word says about these issues.

Pray regularly for your children’s protection and development. Help them to know they are loved unconditionally, and can come to you with any problem that comes up. The importance and power of prayer can not be overstated. I still pray for my grown children daily and have seen God answer prayers uttered on their behalf, over and over again. God is faithful and hears our prayers.

I know that parenting is not an exact science. You can take them to church and teach them about the Lord and they may still choose to hang out with a bad crowd, make unwise choices, or fall into addiction.

But, our children are worth fighting for and if we can take steps to give them a greater chance at a life under the umbrella of the Lord’s protection, then we must do so.

When it was time for our children to leave the nest, there were certainly things that we could have done better, but, we knew that we had taught them about the Lord and His love. We had exposed them to the gospel and we had impressed upon them the idea that God’s Word has the answers for life.

Now, they are on their own. It is their choice whether or not to embrace their faith and to grow in Christ. I am happy to say, they are each a part of a Bible-believing church and are all kind, caring and generous individuals. I know that as time goes on they will experience ups and downs, struggles and successes in their lives as God continues His work of sanctification. Being a Christian does not make us bullet-proof. But, it does mean that when we experience difficulties, temptations and tragedies, God is there—to guide, comfort, convict and restore.

I still pray for protection for my little birdies—the ones I raised, and the ones on my back porch! And I will be praying that God will guide you as you raise your own birdies to know and love Him.

“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.” Psalm 34:7-8

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in you; Let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; Let those also who love your name be joyful in you. For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor you will surround him as with a shield.” Psalm 5:11-12

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

About Heart of the Matter

I am a southern wife and mom who loves reading, music, studying the Bible, and playing a game of tennis now and then. I also enjoy spending time at the beach and have amassed quite a seashell collection. I love all things southern: sweet tea, magnolia trees, comfort food and entertaining. I live in awe of what my Savior has done for me and desire to share spiritual encouragement with others.
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