Tag Archive | family time

The Parenting Trap

Here’s the hard truth. Are you ready to hear it? It’s not going to be popular or sugar-coated or comfortable. It’s a trap many parents walk into with the best of intentions, but ignorance of the gospel. Ready? Here it is:

12-2-03You can do everything according to all the experts in your parenting journey, and your kids could still walk away from Jesus.

♦ Stay together as a couple with love and happiness in your household. check

♦ Go to church as a family, build a firm foundation of faith. check

♦ Pray together, both as a couple and as a family. check

♦ Encourage openness, ask the hard questions, be there for them emotionally. check

♦ Provide things for them, but don’t over indulge. Help them learn the value of work and study. check

♦ Give lots of physical affection and words of affirmation. Let them know they are always loved. Show grace, yet speak truth. check

♦ Give them both an anchor and wings. check

Fact of the matter is, no matter what you do right, or what you do wrong; no matter how hard you pray or how close you feel your relationship is, your children still have the choice to go their own way.IMG_6263

It’s heartbreaking.

That’s how God feels all the time. He so loved the world that He gave His only Son to restore the broken relationships. And still people argue that He doesn’t even exist. They insist that they’re better off without Him. They want to do their own thing without restrictions. Without consequences. Without fellowship with God.

It’s devastating.

And yet He loves His children, rebellious or not, and we love ours. He refuses to give up on them, constantly seeking to woo them back. And we don’t give up on ours.

Love them well. I haven’t yet figured out what that looks like, but I know part of it is not throwing their sin in their face. I know it means maintaining a relationship and speaking truth in love. I know it means letting them know that they are loved no matter what they have done, simply because they are my children.

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b, NIV.)

fullsizeoutput_193On this earth, our nights of weeping are not yet done. But the promise is this: rejoicing comes in the morning. If I didn’t believe that, I would curl up and die.

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4, NIV.)

If loving wayward children well can reflect the deep, deep love God has for them, then I will keep loving mine, praying for that day of repentance.

I could look back and say, “We should have made sure they were owning their own faith. We should have listened better. We shouldn’t have let them hang out with that person. We should have kept a better eye. We shoulda, shoulda, shoulda.”

Don’t fall into that parenting trap. Do the best you can, and surrender your children to Jesus. And pray, pray, pray.

Their salvation is not your burden.

Their decisions are not a reflection of your worth.IMG_0780

Much as I want my children’s lives to look like the pretty postcard I pictured when they were born, it’s not about me, and I’m not in control.

No matter the pain and heartache I experience with every decision that rejects Jesus, God is still good.

Through my tears I won’t fall into the trap that says I blew it somewhere along the line; I should have been a better mother.

After all, it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. It’s always about Jesus.

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Fun or Torture?

The activity my husband most likes to participate in on any holiday is a family bike ride. He’s a big cyclist himself, so he wants everyone to enjoy his passion. That’s completely understandable. And I would enjoy it myself if it wasn’t for that pesky part of the equation: the family.

None of our kids have taken as strongly to cycling as David has. One in particular, who shall remain nameless, spends a great deal of the time complaining about one thing or another, or just basically being unhappy. Uncomfortable on a bike, this child won’t take a hand off the handle bars to scratch an itch, or adjust a helmet, or even switch gears. Therefore, whenever one of the first two activities needs to happen, we have to come to a complete stop. And because this child won’t let go even enough to change gears, little legs have to pedal twice as much as bigger ones.

It’s common knowledge that, in order to feel comfortable doing something, you have to keep doing it. You’re not going to get comfortable unless you keep at it. If you only ride once every couple of months, you’re not going to get comfortable, and every street crossing or obstacle in the path is going to throw you for a loop.

So what was supposed to be a nice family bike ride to run some errands on this holiday turned into one part of the family way up ahead while the other part of us trailed behind, keeping pace with the slow-goer.

Rather than lose my patience, I should have been more kind. We all are not the same, nor do we have the same abilities. Though the whining didn’t need to be tolerated, I think this child would have responded better to compassion and to the encouragement of the family, rather than the scorn.

“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. . . But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. . . But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:14-26).

Thankful today for:

583. a holiday with no grading to do!

584. my daughter’s clean room

585. vacuum cleaners

586. Jasper becoming more vocal