I have been thinking about our children, (two sons) a lot lately. Thinking about the years gone by, the trends, the patterns, regrets, joys, and grateful, grace-filled moments. I'm not one to dwell on the past. You can't change it, and you are smack in the middle of today, so you better make it count, that kind of thing. While not dwelling on the past, I have found it necessary to look back from time to time and be evaluative of our actions. Because of what I know to be true about Christ; I am very aware to be a parent is a gift. The life or lives entrusted to our care, are not ours to do with as we please. Indeed, as a Christian we don't even count ourselves, as our own, for we were bought at a price. "You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for by Christ]; then do not yield yourselves up to become [in your own estimation] slaves to men [but consider yourselves slaves to Christ]", 1 Corinthians 7:23, Amplified Bible. We have been redeemed from sin, from the the curse, saved from the jaws of hell and the grave. Since Our Father has paid such a dear and costly price for us, how much does that need to impact our parenting? Greatly.
I have found myself humbled in waves over the past weeks, by the needs of my children that I am powerless to meet. Humbled also, by the ways we could have done better, if we had understood more what our choices might mean. Humbled, but not forsaken. I am more conscious than ever of the gracious goodness of God which has watched over my husband and I, and our sons. That same gracious goodness goes with our sons, wherever they go. They can't out run God, and His love and mercy, nor could we. For this I am ever so grateful. Even more than I want their individual joy and fulfillment, God wants this. We, as fallen creatures, though redeemed, struggle with something our children struggle with, which is grasping the Big Picture! The Big Picture is what I call the ability to see the full scope of the panoramic, wide screen life God designs for us. A life filled with people to be connected with, adventures to live, battles to win and mysteries to discover. Jesus desires so much more than my husband and I, that these men have all they need to lead a fulfilling life (The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows) John 10:10. This knowledge is a sure thing that I can rest in, breathe in, even exult in. If I will continue to seek first His Kingdom, not the values and standards I craft. Not try to keep up with our friends, or the latest Cosmo magazine instructions for self actualization, self help book, or talk show craze. If I continue to love, prefer, let go, not control, and not maneuver, I can expect God will bless and direct our efforts. Which will result in me doing the part which is mine, and my husband & I doing the part that is ours. And finally, God is well able to get through to these young men in the way they most can hear, just like He did us.
The need for our children to have whole lives can be overwhelming, even terrifying if we look at it too closely. That's why I am refreshed when I remember that what God has entrusted to us, is a scared trust. And He doesn't give us such a precious gift, without giving us all we need to love, train, teach, and provide for the precious lives entrusted to our care. If we look to Him as the source, we will have the correct perspective to make the choices which bring life.
All this is to say, that I've lately been very contemplative as to our actions as parents, evaluating where we're at in this assignment. We are entrusted with a 23 year old at home, due to circumstances he did not desire or plan for; preparing to go back out into the world and make a new life at such an early age. Also entrusted to us is a 14 year old, soon to be 15, who is already well into the transition phase of launching out on his own. I can't help be be hopeful and prayerful. Hopeful for God's grace in all our shortcomings as parents. Prayerful because just as much as Jesus came that we (and they) might have and enjoy life, life abundantly, the thief came to steal, kill and destroy, so I better pray!
Thank goodness He can make beauty out of our mistakes and shortcomings, or I would be completely bereft of hope!