Life was simpler when my kids were small and it was enough to just be their mom. Lazy days spent watching "Barney" and "Sesame Street" or gazing in wonder at odd insects and rainbows have given way to the grownup problems of living in a world spinning wildly out of control.
Working through the maze of peer conflicts and the pressure our kids face from school, work, and social media has brought many of us to our knees in a puddle of our own tears. Things weren't this difficult when we were growing up -- at least, they didn't seem to be. Nowadays we feel ineffective -- at least I do -- in helping them find the hope for which they are so desperately searching.
When I was an older teen it was a natural thing -- a privilege and rite of passage -- to graduate from high school and go on to college or find a job that could actually sustain a life of independence. Now many of us are dealing with young adults who are struggling to find themselves, let alone a sense of direction or a job that pays well enough to pay the rent and put food on the table. There is an underlying fear or sense of dread that is crippling our youth and robbing them of the glorious future God desires for them.
What can we as parents do to help our young people overcome their fears and find the hope that will eventually lead them to pursue God's will for their lives? How do we deal with the disrespect and lack of motivation that are fed by this unseen fear? Do we force them out of the nest in order to give them a hard reality check, or do we continue to pray and love them unconditionally even though we know that with a little hard work they could find a better and more satisfying way of living? It is difficult to stop parenting and protecting our kids, opting instead to let them live and learn by their mistakes. Yet, for many of us, that is the only way God could get our attention. Why would we expect it to be any different for our kids? No matter how hard we try to protect them and prevent difficulties in their lives by offering advice and godly counsel, they must make their own mistakes. Do we trust God enough to let Him have His way in the lives of our kids?
Perhaps as important, how do we keep ourselves from being completely overwhelmed by all this? It is far too easy to become sucked into the drama, lose heart, and become distracted by all that is going on in the lives of our young people. I often find myself sidelined by what is happening in the lives of my kids and their peer group and lose my focus on the things God has called me to do. And that is all part of Satan's plan. He knows that if our kids are in turmoil we will be, too. If we are in turmoil, we become ineffective witnesses and servants of God at a time when the world and our children most need Him.
Next time you are feeling the slightest bit overwhelmed by all that life is dishing out -- whether it is a parenting issue, financial matter, or some other problem -- go back to square one and seek the heart of the One who never meant for things to become so complicated. If it is necessary to adjust what you are doing to survive the moment, then adjust. But don't let Satan condemn you for it. Cry out to Jesus for the peace He promises to those whose eyes are steadfastly fixed on Him. Know that He is fully aware of all you face and remember that He is in the battle with you. In fact, the battle belongs to Him so lay your burdens at His feet, raise your hands and your heart to Him, and offer Him a sacrifice of praise.
Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com
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