Blessed Saint Patrick's Day! A couple years ago, Bill and I did one of those…
Finding Hope Beyond Your Wayward Child
Our story begins with me sitting in my recliner on Mother’s Day sobbing hysterically. My dreams and aspirations for all my children lay in tattered pieces. Truly awful thoughts were circling over and over in my mind. Are my children going to survive? Will they live to be 25 years old? Will my sons end up dead, addicted or in prison? Will my daughter find true happiness and worth? My heart was shattered into a million pieces. I did not know how I could go on, but I knew that I somehow had to keep moving.
I know from experience that there is nothing worse than watching our children fall backward unexpectedly from the path we prayed for daily. The disappointment can be paralyzing.
The children we once knew seem to have all but disappeared. Gone are the joy, laughter, trust and hopeful future we spent so much time daydreaming about. In their place are a fear and dread of what might be coming next.
Our responsibility, as parents, includes certain vows much like those of marriage. So many of us recited the “for better or worse” clause when we committed ourselves to our spouses. With our children, we agreed in essence to the same and more. What we may not have understood at the time was the fact that there were others who would do their best to take them away from us.
In a marriage if things get really, really bad, it is possible to separate without divorcing. It is also possible to agree to table discussions on specific topics until both parties are ready to address them. The same cannot be said for our relationships with our children. Most of the time, we are ensconced inside the house with them through thick and thin. A teen will seldom agree to table anything. They tend to communicate in emotional outbursts.
So beyond putting a roof over their heads and food in their mouths for an extended period, we also have the joy— and sometimes the misery— of sitting on the front row in their theater of life. Due to age considerations, we also have the job of doing our best to clean up the messes to their reputations and status that they leave behind in the world. Marriage is not the same as child rearing. Parenting has its own set of complex conditions.
Our Children Belonged to God First
No matter what we are facing with our children, there is one— and only one— fact to which we can cling during the lowest times of chaos.
Our children belonged to God before they were lent to us.
When we were busy dreaming about what color hair our child would have or what gender our loved one was going to be, God already knew. There is a huge difference between what we did and what He did to usher them into the world. God literally called them into existence.
God is all-seeing and all-knowing. Nothing exists outside of Him, and nothing happens without His knowledge. The Bible tells us,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
This demonstrates His foreknowledge of children. When God speaks to Jeremiah, He prefers him to know of his origin. This means every human, including our child, has a relationship with his or her Creator from pre- birth to the afterlife. It is truly an eternal partnership.
If God brought our children into existence, then it follows suit that He specifically entrusted them to us. He intends us to love and care for them throughout their lives. The Bible includes many tips and guidelines on how to do that. Most of us have heard the declaration,
“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he grows older he will not abandon it” (Proverbs 22:6 nasb).
There is no doubt that, as parents, we all try to do that very thing. Some of our children, however, have to run interference with an unseen enemy that can alter their paths greatly. Depending on how much they listen to our advice versus how much they listen to outside influences, this verse may seem beyond impossible to stand on or believe.
And that is just what dark influences would have us do. It is our job not to go down the proverbial rabbit hole with our children. We are, instead, to choose to fight to bring them back into our plane of existence. Although we may be tempted to give up or feel we have failed, God still believes in our ability to walk through “better or worse” with them. He will give us the strength to get through it all.
Two Sets of Eyes and Ears
As believers, we have two types of eyes and ears—one pair of each that is visible on our bodies and the others that are invisible. They both have a distinction and purpose. Our visible organs need very little explanation. If you glance in the mirror, they display themselves prominently. Eyes and ears have the job of reporting sensory information. They help us perform practical functions, provide us with sensory delight and serve as a radar for surrounding danger. A child riding his or her bike in the street has ears that warn him or her when an oncoming car emits a honk. The movie industry thrives on eyes and ears. We flock to the theater to check out the latest superheroes, romantic comedies and historical drama films.
Our second set of eyes and ears is a spiritual mechanism that operates in correlation with the Holy Spirit. They, too, gather data, but a different type. Spiritual instruction comes in alignment with God’s promises and the eternal truth of His Word. This information often demands that we look beyond what our natural eyes and ears are digesting to comprehend a hope, vision and future that God is working to bring about.
There are other differences between the natural and spiritual. Our physical eyes and ears can be less than perfect for a variety of reasons. Some are born with 20/20 eyesight, but as they age, that changes. Others may have less than perfect sight from the start. The same is true for hearing. And there are those who must navigate life completely without sight, sound or both. Human invention has made great strides in both fields as far as creating products that compensate, such as hearing aids, contact lenses and glasses, but there is still room to grow.
Spiritual eyes and ears, however, work in another way. While some may be endowed with great spiritual acumen from the start, there is no reason why the rest of us cannot catch up. The closer our relationship with God and the more time we invest in seeking Him, the greater our spiritual capacity. In times of distress, it is imperative that we strive to obtain the best spiritual sight and hearing possible. God is our only source for looking past the ugly that might be occurring in our child’s life to the place where victory resides.
An excerpt from The Parent’s Battle Plan: Warfare Strategies to Win Back Your Prodigal by Laine Craft available now wherever books are sold and at The Parent’s Battle Plan – Laine Lawson Craft for a Free Book Bundle
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