Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Family on Purpose {when kids stray from the faith}

As my children are little, they haven't had a chance to chose a different path in life. They stick to what we're doing as a family. I know that they will grow in maturity and make their own choices in life. My prayer is that following Christ will come naturally to them at that time, and that they're faith will develop beyond what we are teaching them into a personal and real thing. But I know that not every child chooses the life of a Christ follower, even though raised in a Christ following home sometimes children go down a different road.

Since my kids are still young at home, I asked someone who has been there before to share their perspective. Here it is, in their own words:  

When I realized that my son was living a life that wasn't consistent with that of a Christian, I spent several years agonizing and feeling sad, responsible and let down that he had turned away from God.  I felt it was my responsibility to get him to turn back to God. So I took every opportunity to talk to him, ask him questions, tell him he needed to change, pray for him.  I felt personally responsible; if I were a better mother, this wouldn't have happened.  I felt it was my responsibility to get him to change.   I felt like a failure and knew we must have done something wrong.  Because he and his stepdad didn't get along, I blamed my husband a good part of the time.  It wasn't a good time. I was living in guilt.

I remember a day when I was talking to my son on the phone.  I don't remember the conversation, but do remember telling him he needed to change and turn his life around and that I would pray for him.  I'm pretty sure there was way more to that conversation, because I knew right away that I had said too much this time.  From then on he didn't share much of his life with me, and he still doesn't.  This breaks my heart.

It was probably around this time that I realized I couldn't change the situation, I became emotionally shut down about it.  I wrapped my child and his choices up in a neat little package and put him on a shelf and shut the door.  I prayed for him, but felt completely hopeless and a bit numb about the situation.

I don't remember if it was a sermon I heard, a book I read, something someone said to me but I do remember realizing I had to relinquish control of the situation.  I really could not change his heart, only God could.  I realized that no one can guarantee that his child won't stray from God.  I realized that God loves my child and is grieving for him even more than I.  I realized that God never forces himself on anyone but is always hoping that his children will return.   I acknowledged to myself that we did the best we could to teach and train our kids.  Were we perfect?  No, far from it.  I realized that I needed to trust the power of God's word and promises that my son will step back onto the right path.  I knew that the only thing I could give my child was unconditional love.  I knew, too, that it was important for him see Christ in our lives, in and our words.  We try to be good examples.  

A few things I've realized on this journey is that I needed to confess, repent, and accept God's forgiveness for what I may have said and done that was wrong while raising my children; rather than wallowing in regret and guilt. I realized that I needed to forgive my son too.  When I did that it was as if a huge weight was lifted!  When worry  comes, I think about the things I'm thankful for in his life; his blessings!   I thank God that his word and promises are true and I believe that there is hope for my child.  I pray for him every day, often several times during the day. 

During the years I've had several words, dreams, and Scriptures given to me for my son. They are precious to me and I have them listed in the front of my bible.  I look at these frequently, and pray them over him.

I look for opportunities to speak to my child about God but I'm careful that what I say doesn't sound preachy.  I want to show him Jesus.  I don't want to condemn him.  I want my words to point him to Christ.  I realize I can't expect him to be Christ like because he's not living the life of a Christian.  More than anything I want him to know Jesus' love.  It's not about church or religion, but it's relationship with Him.

Some things my husband and I have talked about needing to do:
  • Praying for God to help us connect better with our son and do everything we can to develop a warm relationship with him.  
  • Talk to him about some things that happened in the past with their relationship asking forgiveness
  •        Also have the open and honest conversation about where he is spiritually and again, asking forgiveness.  I need this to understand.  

I know that my prayers are the most important thing I can do for my child.  And my trust of God is the most important thing I can do for me. I am trying to do better in relinquishing control over this and believing God's words for my child.  They are powerful.  I hold them tightly in my heart, just waiting for the day I'll see them come to be.

This is day 30, catch up here.

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