Over the years it has been interesting to interact with parents who have kids that are just moving into the middle school years. I see many confident in their parenting. Whatever they have been doing so far seems to be working and they feel like they will glide through the junior high and high school years with little more than a hiccup.
Other parents at the same place are already holding on for dear life trying to figure out what hit them and who has replaced their child with this alien that is now living under their roof. These are the parents who most likely live in fear for what tomorrow might bring and feel clueless as to what to do next to move their child in a positive direction.
Whatever parenting situation you find yourself in at the moment, and what stage of parenting you are in, I encourage you to stay on your knees regardless of today. Tomorrow might bring about a totally different outcome.
- I’ve seen a compliant teen make unbelievably poor choices in college that brought pain to the entire family.
- I’ve seen a troubled pregnant teenager mature and find a Godly husband to not only love her but be a father to her child.
- I’ve seen a teenager on fire for God fall into the trap of alcoholism later in life.
- I’ve seen a teenager growing up in a Godly home choose a same-sex partner.
- I’ve seen kids make good choices through junior high only to make a dumb decision in high school that landed them in Juvenal Detention.
- I’ve also seen Godly parents raise Godly children who are also walking with God.
Regardless of where we find ourselves in our parenting, the thing we need to realize as parents is that we are only part of the equation when it comes to our kids. There are so many other things to consider.
- God created our kids with a particular bent (Proverbs 22:6). As parents we don’t get to choose that bent and we can’t control it. Sometimes our job is to love them in spite of who they are or the choices they make even when they go against everything we believe as truth (Mark 12:31).
- Sin did enter the world (Romans 5:12). Scripture talks about generational sin and we in our culture we often hear it said that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. As we see behaviors in our kids lives, we need to recognize that the sin might have roots from a previous generation (Deuteronomy 5:9). Our job as parents is to teach our kids about the potential outcome of their choices knowing that even in the midst of their particular sin we can only try to influence. Our children have to choose.
- God is weaving His story (The Holy Bible). At some point we need to understand that our children are part of a bigger story and we are not necessarily the author. Yes, we have a significant role to play as the scene unfolds, yet God has purpose for each and every one of us. Our child’s testimony might have unbelievable impact in the future even though it is bringing pain to us in the present.
As I read through scripture I am reminded that some of the parenting stories don’t always end the way we want. King David’s son, Absalom (2 Samuel 13-19) nursed hatred toward his half-brother and had Amnon killed, slept with his father’s concubines, and proclaimed himself as king in David’s place. The Bible says that David “longed to go out to Absalom” (2 Samuel 13:39) and later David mourned deeply over his son. Yet, David was considered a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
At some point we need to come to grips with the fact that our parenting isn’t about how our kids turn out but rather how we respond in the critical moments with our kids. Our job isn’t to try to be the best parent on the planet, but to be the best son or daughter of a living God in the midst of our parenting.
Parenting is really about us and our relationship with Jesus Christ as well as our relationship with our kids.
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
As a parent of a challenging child who seemed to make a lot of wrong choices, I often found myself longing to know what decisions were the “right” ones as I parented. Then I began to realize that even a perfect God didn’t have perfect kids that made the right choices. David, a man after God’s own heart, didn’t always “get it right”. As I searched through scripture trying to grasp what God was trying to teach me in the midst of the pain, I began to realize that parenting was as much about me as it was about this child.
I realized that maybe parenting was more about changing me than it was about trying to control my child’s behaviors.
That’s where With All Due Respect begins. Who do I need to become as I parent these children? Where do I need to focus in my own sinful desires and behaviors? And what do I need to do to love God and love my children the way He desires of me?
Take the assessment and see what God wants from you. Whether your kids are making good choices or not, God wants to refine us through our parenting.
Dare you to take the assessment and respond below on what you discovered.
“Let go…and Let God”,
If God is speaking to you through the assessment, we’d love to have you join our With All Due Respect eCourse. You’ll be joining women from across the country as we learn to depend on God in our parenting. Dare to be changed–in your relationship with Him and your kids–as you work through the book. I’ll be there to join you in the closed community where you’ll find encouragement and insight.
Another option might be to grab a few of your friends and go through the book together. We’ve created a small group leader’s guide that will add insight and fun as you lead women to a closer relationship with God and their kids. You can purchase the leader’s guide here.