Raising children is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things that we can do.
As mothers, we look online for inspiration about our homeschooling, birthday parties, bedroom decor and so much more. That’s the fun part. But it is so much more than just the stuff that brings a smile to our faces. There are difficult days. Even some very difficult seasons.
And if we admit it, we can’t do in our own strength.
From the long days of potty training to expressing concerns about certain friends, parenting can bring out the best — and sometimes the worst — in us.
We don’t typically think about the challenges that our (soon to be) adult children will face until we start to see them wanting more independence from us. This is most evident in the teenage years when outside influences become a real concern for us.
As a mother of three sons, I haven’t started having these thoughts yet with my youngest sons. But my oldest…. that’s a different story. He will be 20 this fall.
As I watch my young adult son fully step into manhood, I believe it is imperative that all parents keep a few things in mind to maintain the right perspective.
Trusting that our adult children will follow God.
As parents, we love to see our children make progress. However, missteps along the way are inevitable. And that’s ok….even if it doesn’t feel like it. It is difficult watching them go down a road that may be totally opposite of the way in which you have raised them. Talk about gut wrenching.
I have not personally experienced this in a significant way but we have had our share of challenges. Like any parent, I’ve seen a questionable friend or two and was concerned. Did I make my concerns known? Yes. Was it always communicated it in the right way? No.....we have to remember, our children are NOT ours. They belong to the Lord. @MrsAngelPenn #parentingadults #biblicalparenting Click To Tweet
But you know….we have to remember, our children are NOT ours. They belong to the Lord. And as difficult as it can be some days, we have to trust that our children will make the decision to walk in the ways that we have trained them in. This is part of growing up.
Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.
The difficult situations that we may see them putting themselves in have the potential to destroy your mama heart. But when we remember the promise of Scripture, we know that despite their actions, they can’t separate themselves from God’s Word.
Allowing adult children to make mistakes.
This is part of growing up. Albeit difficult, it is necessary. We have to be willing to allow our children to learn from their mistakes. Yes, WE need to get out of the way.
Friends, this is an area that I am still growing in. I have a conversation with myself about it frequently.
This can be so hard to watch because sometimes, we already know how it is going to end up. And we know what the “simple fix” can be if they just do this (whatever this is.) As mothers, we want to protect our children from disappointment and pain. But we can’t. It is in those difficult times that they learn lessons. They experience the consequences of the decisions that they have made.
This is necessary. If we try to make sure that they do things the way that we want them to, they won’t know what it is like to make mistakes. Our adult children will struggle with identifying solutions. Most importantly, we could be impacting their relationship with God because they may look to us, rather than Him, as their source of wisdom and help.
These are also those times when we can see God’s grace (and mercy in some cases) at work.
We have to be willing to allow God (and not us) to be God and allow Him to use those difficult moments for His glory. But we also have to embrace that indeed those things can work for their good.
Remember the promises of God
In challenging seasons of parenting, remembering the promises of God is something that we can count on to bring us hope. We find countless examples in God’s Word where we see Him demonstrate his faithfulness. Our Heavenly Father demonstrates in His Word how he loves us perfectly, even when we struggle with our own parenting.
As young children, the first thing we learn about our Heavenly Father is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). As we grow, we are called to love others– even our enemies–“because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). This is something that we can model for our children when we are in difficult seasons with them.
The God who loves us unconditionally has called us to a life of love. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love (I Corinthians 13:13). When our children are going through difficult seasons, it’s imperative that we model love. We can uphold boundaries and love. We can say no and still love.
Take solace sister. If you have a prodigal, God can and will see you through it. If your adult children have chosen to keep company with those who may not be the best influence, fight the battle for them in prayer.
It may hurt big time but remember His promises. Remember the stories. These are the same promises that are available to us today – just claim them and believe God with your heart for the results.