Instructions Not Included

The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “ Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son.”  (Judges 13: 2-3)

Manoah’s wife was working in the field when an angel appeared to her and told her she would become pregnant and give birth to a son. He gave her clear instruction that during her pregnancy she was to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and eating unclean food. Why? Because her son was to be set apart from others as service to God. He was to be a Nazirite and one day the  “deliverer” of Israel.

Excited by the news, she told her husband. But by the time they had returned to the field, the angel had gone. Manoah prayed that the angel would appear so that he could ask questions.  His prayers were answered, the angel appeared to his wife again but he wasn’t with her.  She hurried to tell Manoah and he follows her to the field to ask, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?”image-4-copy

Don’t we wish our children came with instruction manuals?

  • She won’t stop crying. Look in the troubleshooting section of your manual.
  • How to get your toddler to eat vegetables? Look in the manual.
  • Or a chapter on objects that can get stuck in your child’s nose.

I know it would have made raising my child a bit easier. All those times I doubted myself in making the correct choices for her. At least I could go to the manual and the answers would be there in black and white for me to read and earmarked for future reference.

But little did I know at that time my child did come with a manual. It was under my nose the whole time and I just did not see it. The manual I’m referring to is the Bible. One of my favorite verses about raising a child is:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  (Proverbs 22:6)

image-5-copyThis was my motto for raising my daughter, Megan. I thought if I instilled in her values, morals, respect for others, and all that other stuff we mothers do that she would remember where she came from. Years later, despite a few bumps along the way, Megan has not forgotten where she came from. She is a godly woman, loving wife, and a terrific mother to my “ little man.”

Samson’s mother experienced the same little bumps we face with our children today. No matter how much we lead by example, encourage and love them, they are bound and determined to go their own way. Making choices we are not happy with or cannot accept.unnamed-copy

As a parent, it is not always easy to sit back and watch your children make mistakes.  It’s our job to keep the number of mistakes to a minimum and correct the ones that were made.  But it is also our job to pray for our children.  Lift them up every day to the Heavenly Father who is with them always.


Tonya Masoner is a part-time legal assistant and full-time school custodian. She enjoys thrift shopping, pizza Sundays, and binge watching Netflix. She loves telling people-“God’s got a sense of humor… I don’t even drink coffee.” Her Breath on Paper bio can be found here.

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