When the Lord told Kenneth to begin traveling in ministry, we decided that I would stay home and provide a proper home atmosphere for our children. Raising children is a calling in itself. And there are many challenges involved.
I had to be both mother and father while my husband was gone. I kept the children in school and provided them with a good home. I also made sure they had a good church family.
Even when Kenneth was away ministering, I took Ken Jr. and Pat to church practically every time the doors opened. We attended church faithfully, and our children never put up a fuss. They had been trained all of their lives that attending church was not an option!
The Right Company
My children weren't perfect, and I didn't know everything they did, but I did my best to see that they were keeping the right company.
If children begin socializing with the wrong crowd, they will start picking up bad habits that can be very harmful to them. That's why I made it a point to know the friends my children were associating with. And I usually knew where my children were and what they were doing, because they would often invite their friends over to our house for fellowship!
There were many, many weekends and afternoons after school that our house was full of young people! But I liked it that way. I always told Ken Jr. and Pat, "Bring your friends here for fellowship. Anytime you want to have them over, the house is open."
That's what a home is for . . . to be lived in and enjoyed. After all, who was I making a home for if not for my family?
I also let Ken Jr. and Pat have fun when they brought their friends to our house. I wasn't afraid the house was going to get dirty, and I didn't constantly nag them about it. Yes, sometimes the house got a little messed up. But I taught my children how to clean up their messes, so that was never a problem!
I never did bemoan the fact that we were in the ministry and that we had to make sacrifices. Yes, there were times when we had no money and very little food and the children didn't have many clothes to wear.
But we never failed to make it through the hard times. The hard times were never greater than God's grace for us. And we taught our children that it is wonderful to serve God.
I never told our children we couldn't afford to buy them the things they needed. Kenneth and I continually told our children that God would meet our needs. So if I told them we couldn't afford the things we needed, they would think God didn't come through for us. I didn't want them to think that way because God will always come through for us when we look to Him and trust Him. He is faithful.
Spiritual and Natural Training
We did our best to raise our children according to the Word of God, and from the time they were very young, we began teaching them about their Heavenly Father. I remember before our children ever started school, Kenneth would read Bible storybooks to them. Later, when he was away, the children and I never failed to read the Bible and pray each day before they went to school.
You see, children need to be taught how to live the Christian life, and they need to learn how to believe God's Word for themselves. They don't learn those things automatically.
We also trained our children in natural things. For example, I taught Ken Jr. and Pat how to do housework when they were young. I would put them to work helping me wash and dry the dishes. Children should be taught how to handle responsibility because that builds confidence in them. And they need to be prepared to get out on their own when they grow up.
Set the Example
I think one reason some children are disobedient and rebellious is, they don't see the right example set in the home. They don't see the God-kind of love demonstrated by their parents.
If a husband and wife don't show love to each other, how can they expect their children to show love to others? And children need affection too. It's a sad thing for children to be raised in a home where no love and affection are shown.
Kenneth and I have always shown love to our children, and he and I have always been deeply in love with each other. The day we were married, the first thing Kenneth said to me after we left the church was, "We'll always be sweethearts." And it has been that way with us because we want it to be that way, and we work at it.
You Can Be Successful
Raising children is a big responsibility, but with the Lord to help you, you can be successful. There may be sacrifices you will have to make, but whatever you do, don't sacrifice the wellbeing of your children. Any sacrifice you make is not too great a price to pay to be sure they have the best life possible.
I have found that if you let Jesus guide your life, and walk closely with Him, you will set the right example for your children, and things will go well for you and your family. Even if you make a mistake and the circumstances don't look good, those circumstances will change if you will keep your attitude right and trust God to work things out for you.
I've also found that if your spiritual life isn't what it should be, then your physical life and your emotional life will sometimes suffer too. Your physical energy will be low when your spiritual life is low.
But life is just so much sweeter when you're walking closely with the Lord, loving Him and doing what He wants you to do. And life will be sweeter for your family too![Editor's Note: Oretha Hagin went home to be with the Lord in 2007. She and Kenneth E. Hagin were married for nearly 65 years. This article was adapted from her book The Price Is Not Greater Than God's Grace.]
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