I’m having a few big struggles right now. I’m sure I’ll get to all of them eventually, but the one weighing on my heart today is parenting. That is, parenting my adult/soon-to-be adult children in light of the cross. At the end of the day, the Bible doesn’t have a whole lot to say about parenting, but there is always this gem:
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I know the way we should go: toward Christ. But how do you train a child to do that? How forceful should we be? And what do we do with regards to children who have not been well “trained in the way they should go” and are now at or past the jumping off point and seem like they might be/definitely are departing from it?
I guess what has put this on my mind right now, oddly enough, is that my brother in law has been living with us and he is soon moving out. I am so happy for him. We helped him in exactly the way we were supposed to, I think. He has paid some bills and figured out some things and now found a home for himself and his children which should be good for them for a while. He has gotten to a point where he wants to take care of his own life for once. This is exactly what it seemed like they needed. But, of course, my overachieving, obsessive brain (thanks, autism!) imagined more. I was hoping that we could become family, that they would become part of “us.” I wanted to take them to church, bring them closer to Jesus. I didn’t really get to see that happen.
I only hope they saw Jesus in us.
But we helped them. I believe that God moved them here in his perfect time and he is moving them out in his perfect time. And if the results are not what I wanted or hoped for, I believe His hopes and wants are better than mine. I feel like I was hoping for more that I didn’t get, but maybe the “more” was for me. Maybe they got “more” that I can’t see.
And now I wonder about what I should be hoping to give my children. What I should be hoping they get from me. Our oldest daughter lives at her bio-mom’s. She says she is still Christian and I believe her. She says she loves Jesus, but I wonder. I mean, does she love Jesus with everything? Is she walking toward him on a daily basis, loving him, wanting him, pursuing God as he has pursued her? She doesn’t go to church, as far as I know. If she has any other Biblical activities or pursuits, I haven’t heard about them. And I want to get in there and find out. I want to ask the hard questions and force the issue. I want to call her bluff, if that’s what it is. I want to make sure that she is not just a “Christian in Name Only”, like I know her dad was at her age.
But, I don’t know if that’s the right thing. I don’t even know if it’s any of my business. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want me in her business. Should that even matter? I don’t want to mind my own business, I want to love her in the way that I understand it. Should that matter? Most of all, I want to do what God wants because I know if I do that, then it will work and it will come out just the way it is supposed to. But I don’t even know what that is.
I guess the good news is that I have come to the point where I don’t view it as some sort of weird contest between me and her mother. I don’t have to fight that woman for anything. Any questions I had in that area, I know the answers. Or I don’t need them anymore.
I know she loves her mother. I’m glad for that. I hope she loves me, but that’s kind of beside the point. I love her. That means I want her for God. I want her in heaven. I don’t care if she picks her mother over me. I’m afraid she’ll pick her mother over Jesus.
And I don’t know what my place is in all that. Do I need to try to see if it’s happening and help her see it if it is? Do I need to just pray and trust and be Jesus to her? I mean, I know I do the latter anyway, but is that sufficient? I don’t know.
I am just glad that I can rest in the knowledge that whatever I do, it will not be enough. My work can’t save her any more than it saved me. Whatever I do, whatever happens, it’s all God’s work. And, if she is saved and she walks with Jesus, God will be glorified. And if she doesn’t, God will still be glorified. And, at the end of the day – at the end of THAT day – that is all that matters.