“Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.” Proverbs 23:19
When our children grow up it seems that we cannot change them, we can only pray for them. We need to teach them when they are young, by word and by example. There are beautiful scriptures in the Bible about teaching children wisdom: Proverbs 22:6, 2:1-6, 3:1-12, 4:1-17, 6:20-23, Ephesians 6:1-4.When they get older sometimes the interaction between parents and children change. Quite often our strong-spirited children take our well-intended advice as not having enough confidence in them and not trusting their judgment. It is very challenging to watch your child fall and learn from his mistakes. I think this is how our Heavenly Father is watching over us, allowing us to grow, mostly through pain.
We can pray for divine appointments in our children’s lives and good godly influence from their friends and people they meet. Most likely it is not God’s plan to use only you to influence your child and shape his character, can you agree with that? Even though we are surrounded by negativity of the world God will provide in due time and he does answer prayers.
Many of you have wonderful, loving and caring children, you can be proud of them. But in reality it is only by the grace of God that they are who they are. It is only God who gives us our talents, abilities, and character, to become who he wants us to be. Remember, even the hair on your head is numbered. It is not right to be prideful and say it is only because of your dedication and guidance your children turned out the way they are. The Lord blessed you so you can raise them right and you can do this job for him. We should not boast about our great parenting abilities because it is God who gives us wisdom as well as children who listen and respond well. Do not look down on those whose children are not as well-behaved or successful as yours. Does it mean that God loves other people less than you if their children bring grief and shame to their parents? Do you think those parents did a lousy job raising them? How do you know? Actually, it does not matter what you know. We have no right to judge others; we can only encourage them and pray. No gossip-prayers, please.
There are numerous stories about pastor’s kids. Some keep walking with Christ and are great examples of lives lived for God. Others may rebel against their upbringing at some point and decide to test their boundaries. They will try to see what the world has to offer and drift away from God. You know pretty well that good Christian kids, regardless pastor’s kids or not, can do bad things. For some kids, especially teenagers, having an “overly religious parents” may be not “cool”. Maybe they think that their parents are out of touch with the “real world” and are clueless. Would you struggle with that if it were going on in your family? You are praying for your child, and you are nice and sweet and yet your kid is a rebellious teenager who thinks that it is embarrassing if you talk about God all the time. It’s ok, just keep on praying. Never cease to pray for a child and be a good example. Sometimes you may not want to talk too much, and bore your kid to death. Don’t worry; your child will catch on later. What you need to do is listen, and if you show your love to God through your actions rather than words, your child might very well listen more. And if you ask them questions without judging their choices outright perhaps you might open a door to a deeper level of communication. At times you may wonder what happened to this sweet little child of yours. They are still there, but they are changing, going through their own growing pains and at times causing pain to you. Let it be, God is always in control, even when it does not feel like it.
We need to learn to forgive ourselves for mistakes we made in raising children. Children do not come with an instructional booklet at birth- not a single one. And if you have a few children you know how different they are, even the twins! You may raise them the same way, but God gave them different personalities.
Parents often wonder if they did or are doing everything right. Many feel guilty for what they did not do, classes they did not signed their children for, fieldtrips they did not chaperone, and conversations they did not have with their children. Even the “super-moms” have guilt relapses! You did your job to the best you could with resources, abilities and level of maturity and wisdom you had at that time. We do not know what is the reason for all the hurt, pain or mistakes. The Lord is the one who can see the whole picture. God knew what He was doing giving you this child. Have no regrets.
Trust God and rely on Him completely. Hannah’s story from the Book of Samuel comes to mind. The story is about a barren woman who desperately wanted to have a child. Year after year she prayed and even vowed her child to be a servant of God if she ever become pregnant. The Lord finally heard her prayer and she gave birth to a son. She only had him to herself for a short while and later took him to the temple to serve God. Can you imagine how difficult that was- to give up your child, even if you know he will serve God? You can read this story in 1 Samuel 1:1-28.
Another story about intrusting your child to God is that of Moses. His mother Jochebed put an infant in a basket and placed it in the reeds by the bank of the Nile. She asked her daughter to watch and see what would happen. Most of you are familiar with this story and know that it was a move dictated by desperation- all Hebrew boys were to be killed. I can imagine there were plenty crocodiles in the reeds and not too many princesses walking around saving babies, so placing Moses there was a total trust in God.
We all are different and everyone has a unique story. But we all have to remember that kids will be alright- they are in caring and loving hands of their creator.
Heavenly Father, please keep our children save. You give them desires of their heart, please help them to fulfill their lives purpose. Please give them wisdom and guide them along the way. Fill their heart with joy and bodies with health. We pray in Your Son’s Precious Name. Amen.