We have just completed a 12-week study series at church on the family. Priorities, Discipline, Time Together, Memories, Family Traditions, Family Devotional, Family Vacations, Family Relationships, The Church Family, Worshipping Together, Commitment, and Lasting Values were all topics studied and discussed during this time.
It. never. fails. Each time we spend time studying one thing, it’s THAT thing that the enemy tries to use against us! It is has been a ROLLERCOASTER during this family study series at our house!
I believe we have been greatly challenged in each one of these areas during the last twelve weeks. It has been PAINFULLY REHABILITATING, but isn’t that how God works sometimes?
Just as I enter a whole new phase of life, when two of my four children are now grown, my thoughts begin to try and find rest that we have done what we could to raise our daughters in a manner pleasing to God. Teaching them the ways of God, practicing, although not to perfection, the ways of godly parents and giving them the skills, abilities, and opportunities for a successful future.
We’ve poured ourselves into their lives, disciplining when it was necessary, teaching when they were teachable, loving purposefully and intentionally, equipping them to care for themselves, and offering continuing support and guidance for as long as they want it.
Still, there were good intentions that are unfulfilled.
Thinking back, I could list many of our failures and shortcomings in the parenting field. The list would probably be a mile long and then some. Still, we have tried to make the right decisions and follow what God would want for our family.
Now, as a mother of two grown children, I sit and wonder, “Was it enough?”
Was it enough to wish for them happiness, yet find out that they will experience many heartaches?
Was it enough to point them to the scriptures to handle those difficult times?
Will they really practice what we have taught them for so many years?
Did we model what we were teaching to them enough, so that they will naturally look to God throughout their adult life?
“Do they truly GET IT, God? When will Your love and protection and guidance be THE thing they MOST crave and look for? Do I rest on parenting from the past, believing that when they are “old” they will not depart from it? Or do I continue to admonish and point and guide them toward You still? If they are adults now, when do I “let go”, as many in the world would say? How can I cut strings with them when I love them so greatly?”
Sooooooooo many questions! Whew! I get teary eyed just articulating my heart right now!
This. Is. A. Tough. Time.
No longer can I force them to say “I’m Sorry” when they hurt each other’s feelings. No longer can I use chore charts and stickers to teach them the value of responsibility. No longer can I ground them to their room, or take away their favorite toy.
Is my job as a mother done? Is my life’s work over with them? Are they fruitful, godly daughters striving to build their new life in a way pleasing to Him?
There is just so much to consider.
One thing I have learned for sure is stated on Buddy’s blog,
“The more I learn, the less I know.”
The things I would have bet the girls would be doing or not doing, is many times opposite of my thoughts. Life lessons I thought were most important at their young age, now seem different in our new perspective.
…and my perspective is changing DAILY. Little things that may not mean much to them, or even to my husband for that matter, send me into a tailspin of concern. On the grander scale, some of these things may not be life altering, but to me at this moment in time, panic begins to rise when I think things aren’t right.
It just “should be” the way I envisioned it! (lol): Grown children, who consider the family as the strongest bond, second to God, who compares to no other; love, forgiveness, productivity and empathy reigning in our household at all times due to the bond of a mature family; collective ministry to others through our family, sharing in like-mindedness and common interests; fun and happiness in abundance; the peace of knowing that our parenting job is completed well.
But then, evaluating all these things remains a matter of perspective.
God didn’t expect families to be perfect. All our great intentions and dreams and desires as parents were many times missed opportunities. Children don’t always love and respect the way God intended, either.
Still…the family is the most important basic social unit God created.
Within the family, we learn to model the ways of the world or the ways of God. Every day, our actions as parents, whether purposeful or not, extend to the growth and development of our children.
When they are grown, we look back and realize how many times we did things WRONG, and no matter how many times we try to convince ourselves otherwise, there’s still the question, “Did I do enough?”
Over the next few posts, I intend to articulate some thoughts on parenting. Some will be based on our personal experiences. Some will be based on other new and old concepts/ideas surfacing within the Christian realm.
Prayerfully, God will guide these posts and the discussions from it to strengthen us all in our parenting endeavors, …
…because no longer can I say “Two Down, two to go”. What I believe I am learning is that my job is still not done.