Saturday, March 12, 2011
God decides when they'll bloom..
I suppose this blog is dedicated to all the parents out there, wringing their hands, wondering if their children are in Christ or not.
Let me share with you my experience, and the joys I'm still experiencing. My oldest boy was raised in a church-house setting. As a family, we took our meals together, we said the blessing before each meal, and were the typical American church family. That wasn't enough, though, as God began to teach me, little by little, the things He wanted me to know. The simple things that although I could quote, apparently I never took them to heart. "My grace is sufficient for thee" was a familiar verse I'd learned at an early age. Yet, for all my churchianity, it never became a real, personalized truth until I left the church world. "I will never leave you, nor forsake you" was another verse I'd memorized, yet out of the same mouth, warned my sunday school students that, "If you don't keep your sins confessed and forgiven, you'll find yourself in hell". Oh yeah, "double talk" was my middle name, but as my teachers before me, that's simply all we knew to teach. There came a time when God pulled me out of the church-world, and just He and I had some study times together. My youngest child was relieved to be able to sleep in on Sunday mornings, but not my oldest. He requested to continue on with the church and ride in with his grandparents.
I was torn. Do I keep my child in a congregation that had so many different doctrines, depending on who you spoke to, that he would be confused? Academics were never a concern with him. He just enjoyed hanging out with his friends and his grandparents. To counter the teaching I felt he might still be getting from church, I arranged for all four of us to have our own Bible study here at home. Begrudgingly, they all took part of it, and as quick as the study time was over, off to their rooms they went. Did it take effect? Did my men truly understand the New Covenant? I saw no evidence, and at the same time, a still small voice was telling me, "It's really none of your business, though, is it??" This was true. Everyone's life in Christ is between themselves and God. No matter how well my intentions were, I was not going to create a 'mini-me' in either of my boys. In fact, in trying to do so, was evidence in my own life that I didn't trust God to handle my family. Was God incapable of sending the Gospel message to my family? Did He really need me to step in and 'do something'? I think the hardest thing, in any parent's life, is to stop meddling in their child's affair. I'm not talking about not parenting. Yes, know where your child is at. Yes, know who your child's friends are. Yes, talk to your child about the ills of drugs. No, not every child is going to be a preacher, teacher, or Indian Chief. I wanted my boys to be successful. I wanted my children to have a loving relationship with God that would be so solid, so foundational, that they would have no reason to look elsewhere for love and acceptance. Well doh! Doesn't God want that very same thing? Is He not so much more capable than I am in getting that across to them?
Then the most miraculous thing that I could have wished for (almost) happened. My oldest and I visited a conference for two years in a row. The first year was fun--watching him experience his first plane ride, first trip outside our home state, a lot of 'firsts' for him. Yes, we had teaching sessions that we sat through, and I desperately hoped some of them were getting through to him. Speaking later, I got the strong impression that he was bored to tears during the session. He chuckled at a few of the jokes, but more often than not, found his thoughts to wander off elsewhere. I was disheartened, but at the same time, relieved that at least he'd been exposed to the Gospel. When we returned home, life resumed as normal. I stayed home and listened online, and he continued his social life at the church. That was year 1. Year 2 blew me away. Having the 'first times" behind him... he was now able to concentrate on the message at hand. In between sessions, he was elated to hear that he has already BEEN forgiven. Seriously? Of EVERY sin he's committed, and will commit in the future? Truth after truth was revealed to him, and he drank it in as if his life depended on it. Actually, our lives DO depend on it, but that's another story. I'm not sure how it happened, but we didn't spend much time together at the second conference. I noticed him hanging with a lot of the speakers of the conference. Our paths simply didn't seem to cross that much. Coming home, he talked nonstop of how neat it was that Christ did something more than gave him forgiveness of his past sins--in Christ, my son is alive! In Christ, my son is totally forgiven. I was blown away. I have never, EVER seen him this excited over ANYTHING. I reminded him that what he heard at the conference was the same thing I was telling him for years. He brushed that off with an impatient, "I know, Mom... I know... but when Mr. Bob was saying..." and off he went again. I'll admit.. my pride was hurt, because "I" wasn't heard. It took flying him thousands of miles away from home, listening to man he didn't know, tell him the same message for it to 'take'. The hurt didn't last long, though. God is a great multi-tasker. At the same time He was teaching my son His truths, he was taking me through a growing spell, myself--realizing that it doesn't always have to be 'me' that does the doing.
All that was well and good, but I thought for sure after we'd been home a week or two later, that the excitement would wear off and it would be life as usual. That was almost a year ago, and the excitement hasn't worn off yet. In fact, it's only increased. There are times when he calls me on his work break (often at midnight) and exclaim, "Mom! Did you know that....?" and words spill out of his mouth almost faster than I can take them in--concerning some new nugget that God revealed to him through the reading of the Bible.
The rest of my family? I'm still waiting for "part 2" to be written.
So parents... as hard as it is to remain in His rest, know that God has your children's best interest in mind. Trust Him to do best by them. And in the meantime, I'll try to follow my own advice.....