My husband and I have been in the parenting business for many years. Our children are now 27, 21 and 16. Over the years, in trying to parent well, we have faced numerous decisions and challenges both large and small that would greatly effect our childrens’ futures.
When our children were very young, the decisions were mostly about their daily care such as, when to begin solid food, what kind of diapers to buy, or whether we should leave them with a sitter. We had to decide if a sniffle was “just a sniffle”, or if it merited a doctor visit, and we had to make that critical decision that many other parents face… whether or not I would work outside the home.
As our children began elementary school we had to decide things like: which educational path was right for us, public, private, or homeschool? Which extra-curricular activities would they participate in? Which friendships would we encourage and which would we discourage? Which TV programs would be allowed? What kind of chores would they do at home and would they be paid to do them?
Once middle school and then high school were upon us,we found ourselves facing decisions about academic issues, technology usage, dating, extra-curricular activities (again!), issues of freedom and responsibility, and the all important – “When can I get my license?” question. For our oldest two, the high school years culminated in the life-impacting decision of where to attend college. Our youngest has yet to reach that milestone.
With all of these decisions facing us as parents, we often felt overwhelmed and inadequate for the task. We would put up a confident front but behind the scenes we were trembling in our boots! What added to our fear was the erroneous belief that the outcome of our child’s future was dependent upon our decision making capabilities! Imagine that. God leaving the success or failure of a child’s future to a couple of fallen, fearful and imperfect parents.
There were times when facing an especially difficult challenge or decision with our kids where all we could do was fall on our knees and cry out, “God help us! You know our hearts. You know our desire is for these children to reach their full potential in you. We want your best for them, Lord, but we have no idea what to do here. We trust you, though. Please give us wisdom.”
We have prayed this prayer as parents countless times on our more than 20 year journey, and each time have had to leave the issue at the foot of the cross along with our fear and worry and watch with hopeful anticipation for God’s direction and guidance.
Time and time again God has proven himself faithful to us and has helped us make the right decision, although, often we wouldn’t see the fruit of that decision until months or years later at which time we would rejoice at how God’s hand had moved in the life of our child. God has frequently reminded us that, no, he isn’t leaving the fate of our children completely up to “boot trembling”, indecisive us! Actually, he holds each of them in the palm of his hand and has a plan for their future that we can not even imagine.
Know this, fellow parents:
- God loves your children infinitely more than you do.
- God’s wisdom is always available to you, you need only to call on him.
- God knows your heart’s desire for your children even when you can’t verbalize it.
- When you make mistakes as parents God is not surprised by it. He can use everything that happens in your child’s life to his glory.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all, without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 (NIV)
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)