this parenting thing!!!
it’s the most bizarre challenge!
we want our kids to succeed and we try to help them but they don’t want our help.
except when they do… so you can’t quit offering.
you tell them everything you think they need to know and they don’t have to listen.
you can bring them to church their whole lives and they still don’t have to believe what you do.
you can tell them over and over how wonderful they are and they can still hear something else in their head.
why did God give ALL of us free will? why not just the grown ups?!
we can’t compare our kids to anyone else’s because every family is different.
and we know that no family is perfect – no matter how it may look on the outside.
but sometimes... doesn’t that seem not true for some people?
like that some families are the exception and they ARE doing everything right?
it’s as if they have a secret way to raising kids that always works.
when our kids are little the problems we face are usually pretty fixable.
potty training… picky eaters… poor sleeping… tantrums… sassy talk.
there’s a solution or ways to make it better.
you get to control where they go, what they do and how they do it for almost a decade.
it feels manageable, safe and even measurable – maybe not at the time but looking back those are the words i think of.
then they get older and often it feels like there is no longer anything that is fixable!
the issues are so big!
and potentially life altering on nearly a daily basis!
with teenagers the things you deal with on any given day could include: driving, snap-chatting, dating, faith, sex, drugs, alcohol, suicide, curfews, clothing choices, hormones, depression, anxiety, friendships – to name just a few.
it is a completely different ball game!
there are times when i have no clue what i am doing!
times where craig and i will just stare at each other saying “what should we do?”
i pray “help us guide these kids Lord” over and over.
i need to give God the reins.
i don’t want to be consumed with worry.
i want to trust that God is big enough to handle it all.
and in my heart i know that He is but i definitely struggle with worry and guilt and doubt.
i have to give it over to Him every day.
or at least every day that i remember to give it over and don’t keep it – because i am too busy worrying!
it’s hard to truly grasp that i can’t keep them from messing up.
i cannot save them.
(of course i can’t – i can’t even save myself! thank you jesus for saving me!)
i have to remember that a huge part of growing up is making mistakes and learning from them!
how can they know how failing feels if we never let them fail?
how can they trust themselves if we make every decision for them?
how can they learn to get back up if they never get knocked down?
the struggles they face, the things they wrestle with, the choices they make – the good and the bad – are all part of their story.
through those experiences my hope is they learn that God loves them no matter what.
if i have all the answers then i don’t need Jesus.
so i have got to let go and rejoice that I DO need Him and that He’s with me as a mama!
He is with my kids through all the ups and downs they go through whether they realize it or not.
i can’t forget that yes they are my kids but not really – they are God’s!
i have the privilege of being their mom.
but He created them and loves them more than i ever could so seriously i have GOT TO STOP worrying!
my job is point them to jesus.
i have failed so many times at that but thankfully there always seems to be another opportunity to try again.
I’ve been reading this scripture on repeat and praying it over my kids:
“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit – not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working with in us, his Spirit deeply and gently with in us.” Ephesians 3:14-20 The Message
this is helping my heart as i parent five teenagers/young adults.
what i want the most for my kids is a relationship with Jesus.
i can trust that no matter where they go they can find Him.
it doesn’t have to be in the way i think it should be or in my timing – god knows everything about them!
they don’t have to be in a certain occupation or youth group or college or church.
those things are not barriers for God.
He makes himself seen absolutely everywhere so i can rest in the fact that He is there with them – everywhere and anywhere!
and i will keep praying for them to open the door and invite Him in.