The most difficult challenge I face as a Christian and mother of teenage and young adult children, is learning to pray constantly and consistently instead of saying over and over again the things I want them to do and the truths I want them to embrace. My own mother prayed me through a long season of sinful living when I was a young adult, but she never said much about the hurt my choices were causing her, let alone myself. Somehow I never considered her silence a bad decision on her part as a parent, but rather cherished the prayers that eventually led me back to the Lord and turned my life in a more positive direction. She was never controlling or overtly opinionated, as I am, but by the grace of God loved me when I was unlovable, prayed His protection over me when I was unstoppable, and never gave up hope that God would turn me from a destructive life to one dedicated wholly to Him.
Why is it hard for us as parents to simply pray for our kids and trust that God will show them mercy and redeem their sins as He did ours? Could it be that we are so busy trying to prevent our kids from making the same sinful choices and mistakes we made, that we have forgotten that God is God and we are not? If God could pluck me from the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock, so can He do the same for my children no matter how far they stray from His will and His ways.
Make no mistake, I am not saying that as parents we should say nothing and let our kids live with abandon. But I am saying that we should love God and our children with abandon and model the godly lifestyle we hope they will embrace. Certainly we need to instruct and guide them, but attempting to control their behavior as they mature, instead of releasing them to learn from their mistakes, only hinders the grace of God and conviction of His Holy Spirit, which will ultimately result in their salvation and restore their fellowship with Him.
When I consider the unconditional love of my heavenly Father I am reminded that I need to extend the same unconditional love toward those, both inside and outside of my circle of influence, who may not believe or act in a manner consistent with my convictions and life choices. My children need to know that no matter what they do, I will always love them and be here for them.
Lord, give us grace to love others as You do and to not become so caught up in trying to guide and direct them that we hinder the work of Your Holy Spirit. Help us to remember that You love them far more than we ever will, and that Your heart is as broken when we sin as our hearts are broken when our children struggle to find their way. Give us grace to trust You enough to say less and pray more!
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