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:
You 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.
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.
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.)
On 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.
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.