Yesterday was the first day of 24 days of my prayer challenge. The focus was on praying for my teens honesty. I started the prayer with my own honesty with God. I have been struggling to pray this summer. I was honest about my feelings, my anger and my fear and that honesty, I came to understand why I was struggling.
Today I prayed that my children would be honest with themselves, with others and with God. I pray because I believe in a holy and righteous God who loves me, and wants to hear me. If I pray because I trust God and believe he is listening, and loves me regardless of the outcome then my prayer becomes a form of worship and acknowledgment, prayer becomes an act of praise and faith, in fact prayer is evidence of faith. What if my prayer offered in faith becomes an offering rather than a request, how can that change everything? how can that keep me from struggling because I’m not getting the response I want? this post is not about prayer, but it was in the prayer time that perhaps I came to understand a bigger revelation; in my prayers for my children to be people of integrity and honesty I realized there are some lies’ I have to let go of myself. If I can be honest with God, I can be honest with myself, If I want it for my children, I should want it for myself. and its this:
“I am not in control of My teens journey towards God.”
and that is what this post is about. I am not in control. I have believed that I am. That I am responsible for my teenage children’s decisions, their outcomes, hearts, attitudes, and faith. This is a LIE. I have believed If I am a very good parent then everything will go according to my plan and vision for their lives, everything will go well. LIE. By good I mean patient, self controlled, faithful, gracious, kind, loving, did I say patient already? by good parent I mean always saying and doing the “perfect” thing at the hardest and most emotionally trying moments.
If I pray faithfully without wavering, if I rejoice in suffering, if I preach the gospel in and out of season, but am not overly wordy. If I do not sin. If I respond in the right manner, If I know just how much to let go and when. if I maintain my sense of humor. If I have breakfast on the table each morning, and make lunches and say yes more than no, adjust my relational capacity at each stage of their life quickly and without casualties, help them when asked, don’t over advice, overstep bounderies or lecture, lose my temper or infringe on their privacy. Don’t give too much, or too little and always remember to say I love you first! Anyone out there good? my list of should’s and ought too’s get longer every day and its heavy and burdensome.
I long for my children to make all the perfect decisions in life, I long for them to live the most successful , fruitful, godly life, go to a most prestigious Christian college (preferably), never sin (ideally), all while maintaining a loving, close, open relationship with me and my husband. Have I watched too many movies? I have an image and vision of what I want our family to look like and what I want their lives to look like and I have taken that on my shoulders, as if its my job to ensure the outcome, but just because its what I want doesn’t mean its what God wants. Just because i let go doesn’t mean they will crash and burn, i don’t have as much power as I believe. And just because I hold tight doesn’t mean they will succeed and love Jesus.
We all want what’s good right and best, that’s not wrong, yet it can go wrong when we put our hopes for the kids on a pedestal and pack God’s desires for them under the bed. The best thing to do is give up, surrender, love your children and leave them, love your God and cling. Stop being afraid Kim that your going to mess it all up. your not that powerful.
It is through affliction and suffering we come to life and maturity. Think of the process of child birth, can I rest my case? Even so the goal would be, after all that labor to bring forth a healthy happy baby, but sometimes we don’t, sometimes the baby is not healthy or alive. Sometimes there is suffering and it doesn’t turn out the way we hope for or want. What do we do with that? THAT my friends, is OUR faith Journey.
i ought to stop measuring my goodness by their success or failure? If I blame myself or else praise myself , I leave God and the children out of it completely. I wrongly believed that because I prayed for my children’s salvation they should be saved by now, if they are not I must have done something wrong and therefore I must do something right, but wouldn’t that make me the savior, rather than Christ?
sometimes my thoughts go like this, ” I read to my children every night, why do I never see a book in their hands, We go to church every week why don’t they worship freely, I volunteered in their classrooms, we had family suppers together, I listen to Christian music faithfully in the car, I am patient mostly, and I am kind a lot of the time (even though they only remember the times I am not). This is killing me, breaking my heart why is it not good enough, why am I not good enough? I want my son to want to read his bible, and choose to go to church, and pick out a Christian college and have godly direction and passion , and trust us. I want Hannah to get off her damn phone, and wear something that we don’t fight about. Is this too much to ask? after all, I did my part! perhaps i want these things for me rather than for them, maybe I want my job to be done, and the reality is all my wanting in the world won’t make anything happen, but neither will all my work.
Jesus said this: “this is the work of God that you believe in Him whom he has sent” John 29
In other words not Kim’s work that they believe. If my kids haven’t believed maybe it’s because I have protected them from the affliction that leads to repentance and need for God to save them.
I have believed a lie for too long. The lie that I have some sort of power over my children to determine the course of their life. By God’s divine providence my teens attitudes are tirelessly reminding me every day that I certainly do not have control. I have no skin in their game, unless they invite me in at this point, I have no say on when or how or if they choose God. as Christian parents today, I am afraid. and Yes I am releasing them to the alligators in the nile, but I have no choice. again, like giving birth, they say your body involuntarily does 70 percent of the work, in other words, whether or not you push that baby is coming out, they cannot stay inside forever and live. But the wonderful truth is this when they do take their first breathe and the cord is cut, their is so much life. Its true there are some wicked things out there but there are some wonderful things out there. Think about Moses in the bulrushes.
Don’t we all want our children to be the next Moses, ok maybe that’s just me. Moses’ mother set him in a basket in the very water all the babies were being drown, in other words she sent him to his death and trusted God to do what HE thought best. i wonder how long it took her to let him go? She permitted him to be raised in an idol worshipping home away from her mothering protection, and traditions, and he grew up to murder someone, but he also grew up to worship the One True God, and this heathen raised man was God’s friend. Jochebed let go of her baby boy knowing God was infinitely greater at taking care of things than she was. Letting Go doesn’t mean I let go of controlling my offspring, I already don’t and can’t, control is an illusion. Letting Go means letting go of the lie that their life somehow depends on me, that their salvation depends on me, that their success is my responsibility. If I could only be a better parent they would see the light. LIE. Humanity doesn’t see the light because of mothers. Satan is a dark and powerful force in this world blinding mankind. Humanity sees the light when and if God says, LET THEIR BE LIGHT! it is only by his will and decision based in his perfect knowledge, that he opens blind eyes and softens hearts. If I stopped existing tomorrow on this earth, My children’s lives and God’s will for them would continue; it is no longer tied to me by a cord of flesh. Their lives will take the path GOD set it on, regardless of me. therefore, I have to die to my self, and I have to die, in a way, to my children.
The people of Israel failed to enter the promise land when their fear for their children’s lives blinded them to God’s promise, God’s power and God’s protection. But guess what? Their children still entered! Their children’s future did not depend on the parents of Israel, but on God, the maker of Israel. Satan is a liar and he will lie in either direction to get you away from God and to prevent you from entering the promise. Worry about yourself and your own walk with the Lord.
Even parents whose children remain small and within their grasp are sometimes faced with circumstances beyond their control. even so, God has designed us with this insatiable desire to protect our children, but not the infinite capability, we must trust God and in trusting God we extend our strength and ability to care for those He loves. God is able. He is able to reach your son or your daughter and he is not limited by the elements of reason or design.
some may be lost, some may be found, but it’s not on us, it’s on God, literally, the sins of the world are on him, he took them. Joseph, a victim of human trafficking never left the sight of God, and even though immersed in a culture of heathens , a nation that neither knew God or served God, Joseph never let go of his faith. Jacob couldn’t save his favorite son, but God didn’t need Jacob to save Joseph. in contrast Adam and Eve formed from the dust breathed with God’s own breathe of life, raised a murderer. There are no guarantees, and I cannot control my teenagers path to God, or orchestrate it or ensure it and perhaps this is the hardest to let go of, the belief that I need to. David’s heart broke over his rebellious children, Jacob over the sins of his sons Simeon and Levi who slaughtered an entire city of men. Eli’s sons, Aaron’s son, so many sons went astray no matter how righteous or good their fathers were, could not prevent it. All men, all sons, all children are born with a rebellion, not against their parents but against their creator, and its indeed that relationship between man and God, that needs to be restored first and foremost, Only Christ, not Parents can break the power of sin and rebellion. Heaven and earth cannot keep God from those who belong to him, neither can it prevent God’s judgment on those who do not belong to him. and we as parents I’m sorry to say have no control over who belongs to him.
one reading through kings will remind you of the inconsistent toggling between the sort of children kings would turn out. The most perfect and blameless men in scripture, Job, Noah, GOD himself could not make their seed righteous. Free will gives each man a choice. providence reveals that knowledge to God. Adam and Eve in his own holy like-ness, breathed his very own breathe into Adam’s nostrils and still they sinned, if God’s own children were not prevented from disobedience how on earth do I think mine can be? God is in control of the outcome, he holds it, he alone directs the steps of man.but it was there in the fallen nature that GOd’s nature was revealed. In the fallen state of mankind that the loving state of the Father was given the opportunity to come down.
Rejoice in your failures, rejoice when you screw up because it is these greatest failures that we experience the most significant growth and it is no different for our children. rejoice in their failures, perhaps that is what God did when Adam sinned , knowing the extent he would be able to go to reveal his love to humanity. remember when your children sin it is a great opportunity for you to show them your love and grace.
our children won’t be perfect, they will not match the image, standard, vision and hope we create for them. they won’t and you don’t want them to, because that isn’t God’s will and purpose for them, its yours. the truth is we are not in control of our teens journey towards God, help me believe what is true.