I was just thinking…………….
Quite a number of years ago, a friend came to me and was very broken hearted because her Daughter seemed to be wandering away from The Lord. She had made some bad decisions and my friend was very concerned about her Daughter’s future. She asked me to pray for her as she dealt with this struggle. (Galatians 6:2) We prayed together, cried together and then I remembered a story from the Bible that I felt God would want me to share with her. Before I get to that story…
Every parent has hopes and dreams for their children. We also have that comparison thing that we do. Sometime it seems to start from the time we find out we are pregnant. Do you have morning sickness? Is it as bad as or worse than (fill in the blank with the name of your favorite person)? Maybe you compare your children to one another. In that case, was your morning sickness as bad as or worse than the first pregnancy, or your second, etc. In that statement is there a medal or ribbon you can display for enduring this martyrdom? How old (or young) was your child when that first tooth appeared? How about when they said their first word or when they learned how to read? You see where I am going with this, right? (II Corinthians 10:12-13) Sometimes comparisons are a good thing such as when you are trying to determine whether or not your child has a health issue or disability. However, more often than not, it can become a very negative behavior. Parents can easily get caught up in these prideful thoughts and have unfulfilled expectations that eventually may even cause depression when things don’t turn out as we hoped and dreamed.
As our children become older, they will have the opportunity to make some of their own choices. Along with those choices will be consequences. Some will be positive and some will be negative. You may be completely unaware of some of those opportunities to choose. What happens if your child chooses to experiment with (you name the sin you are most worried about)? Will it reflect on your parenting? Will you reject that child or love that child in spite of their choices? When your children are adults, will you be devastated if they choose to send their children to public school? If your child chooses a lifestyle that is opposite of your values: opposite of what you have taught in your home, how would you respond? How would you want others around you to respond?
Have you ever been in a store and walked several aisles over just so you could avoid a conversation with someone? Perhaps you felt a bit awkward. You didn’t know what to say to the Mom who has an unmarried and very pregnant Daughter. Perhaps you didn’t know what to say when you heard that one of your acquaintances has a Son who was caught drinking or smoking or (again, fill in the blank). You are certain that this could never happen to you or your family, right? I have had close friends and relatives whose children have rejected Christ and chosen to sin. My children have chosen to sin. I have chosen to sin. If you are honest, so have you. (Romans 3:23) After all, our sin is what sent Jesus to the cross. Fortunately by God’s great grace, redemption is still available. Some of the children that are on my mind as I write this, have returned to Christ, some have not. God has given us all the freedom to make that choice.
Back to that Bible story… Have you ever thought about the fact that Adam and Eve had no video games, no movies or music with explicit lyrics, no magazines or any of the other “bad influences” that we have today. Adam and Eve had the perfect home environment and the perfect Father. Yet, they still made the wrong choice. You might be the perfect parent with the perfect home environment and you might still have a child who makes the wrong choices. It is not always the fault of the parent. I am not saying it is “never” the parents fault. However, you could be doing everything right and still not have the expected outcome. Will you still believe that God is in control? Will you still believe that Jesus loves you and has a plan? (Romans 5) (Jeremiah 29:11) If you have a friend or family member who is dealing with these difficult issues, will you be compassionate instead of judgmental?
One of the things that God taught me as I tried to encourage my friend all those years ago, was that a kind word or gesture can make or break a person who is struggling. (Proverbs 25:11-13) I want to be the person who reflects Jesus to others. I certainly want to see Jesus reflected to me through my friends and relatives when I am hurting.
Here are some ideas that might spark your own creative ways to show the love of Jesus. Sending a card is always a nice idea. Include a personal note, perhaps a gift card for coffee and an invitation to join her if she wants some company. I have purchased those little “baby feet” pins from a booth at the county fair and given them to the expectant Grandma on more than one occasion. Hugs and phone calls can be good if you have a close relationship. What are some things that you might want if you were in need of encouragement? Do that! Above all, pray. Pray for wisdom for everyone involved and also for you. (James 1:5) Pray that God will show you how to honor Him in all that you say and think and do.