Cathy Clarke, the lead pastor for Hillsong London, recently shared her thoughts on the importance of surrounding children with a positive and caring community.
She is inspired by the popular saying: "it takes a village to raise a child."
"I know this is an African proverb, but it's full of truth and I've been known to quote it many times when talking to mums and dads and, to be honest – anyone who is listening!" she wrote in the Hillsong United blog.
Clarke is grateful that when her two kids were born, she was part of a caring community that helped shaped their hearts and minds, all in accordance to God's will.
"I've found myself in a beautiful house where God Himself feels quite at home. I'm struggling to think of one example but overwhelmed with the countless times throughout their lives where friends, and sometimes strangers, have gone above and beyond to spend time with them, take them out, just hang out, play football and simply have fun," she said.
Clarke's children are now 19 and 17 years old. She said that they are far from perfect, but they are nonetheless great and fun kids who are "the sum total of a whole lot of little things."
She could not imagine how things would have turned out if caring and supportive individuals from her church did not go out of their way to help raise her children, since they have played such an integral role in building her children's character and self-esteem.
"The thing that brings huge comfort and peace to my heart over the years of being a mum is knowing that I'm not doing the most challenging and rewarding part of my life alone," she said. "There will always be people around me in my church community who care and love and support us any time of day or night which then guides us to also step into someone else's world and make their day!"