Tag Archives: christian parenting

Train Up a Child…

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Proverbs  22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is  old he will not depart from it.

One of the things in life that I am most thankful for is that I have this intrinsic desire and ability trust God. I know that He is in control and I don’t worry about my future…until I became a parent. The two areas of my life that I worry about now are my son and my daughter.  Will they make the same mistakes I made? Will they get their hearts broken? Will they go to college? Will Allison be able to live independently? What if they trust the wrong people? I mostly worry about things I can’t control which only gets me more worried. It’s not a good cycle to be in. However, I recognize it and I am working at letting those worries go and place my trust in God….fully.

One of the things I worry about the most is if I am doing all I can to raise my children to love God and desire a relationship with Him through Jesus. We pray before every meal (even if we are eating out). We go to church on Sundays and most of our friends that we hang out with and talk to are from that church. We are involved in our church and our community always trying to help where we can. We encourage our kids to talk to God when they are struggling or thankful.  But, is it all sinking in? After all, we only have about 10 more years before they go off to college. They need to be prepared! See? Worry. It’s not a great way to live.

Last weekend we were visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving. My daughter was having a meltdown. I calmly told her (and yes, I mean calmly. I was so proud of myself for keeping my cool) that if she didn’t “get a grip” on her emotions and calm down she would need to go to bed and miss out on some family time. I got her into the shower (always a good place for her when she’s overwhelmed because of her sensory issues. The water helps calm her) and went to go get her pajamas. When I came back I could hear her talking in there. I tried to listen before going in. She was praying! She was asking God to help her calm down and praying that He would change my mind so she could spend more time with the family. Needless to say, I got goose bumps and was overwhelmed with joy and peace and reassurance.

I didn’t go in right away. I went and told my husband what I had just witnessed. He knows how I worry about whether our teachings are getting through to her or whether her brain can comprehend something that she cannot see or touch. We hugged and at that moment I realized that I need to stop worrying. Instead I need to just keep doing what we are doing to encourage a relationship with God in our children. The Lord loves these kids more than I ever could. It’s our job to “train them up.” God will do the rest. We cannot soften our kids hearts to receive God’s gift of His Son…that’s His job. But, we can teach them, pray for them, pray WITH them and steer them towards a life with Jesus at their side to guide them and carry them through their lives.

After this experience, I have learned that I need to just relax and allow God to work in their lives. I know I’m not the first person (nor the last) to worry. They Bible is FULL of verses about it. Here are few that serve as a great reminder in those worrisome moments.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Luke 12:25-26 (NIV)  25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Instruction for what we need to be doing as parents can be found in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV)

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

If  I focus more on what I can control and less on what I can’t, my life could be so much more productive. Trusting God and surrendering our children to His will, frees me up to be the mother that they need. It allows me to just enjoy their presence and enables me to create a home that they can flourish in. Worry has been robbing them of the mom they deserve. Worry has been eating away at my patience, my stamina and my love as a mother. Letting that go is going to free me up to focus on today. What are my kids needs TODAY? Tomorrow I give to God. They were God’s children first and foremost. They are a gift from Him. It’s my job to make them feel like that gift everyday.

A Little Perspective

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The other day I was driving in the car by myself and listening to K-LOVE radio (96.7 for those in the NYC area). I think a lot. Sometimes I do this too much. This particular day I was thinking about my sweet Alli. It wasn’t long after my “mommy meltdown” mentioned in an earlier post. I was still questioning God on His decision to trust me with Alli and Nate. I was still wondering why He chose me when he knew I would screw up as often as I do. I was thinking back to my days before children and how I longed to be a mom. I remember dreaming about one day having a daughter and a son. I started crying…again…because I felt like I was, for lack of a better term, mourning the loss of the daughter that I thought I would have. No woman dreams of having/adopting a child with special needs. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that I would love whatever child was brought into my life. However, we can never anticipate the challenges that lie ahead for us. I see my friends who have daughters the same age as my Alli and their relationship is very different from the one I have with my daughter. Confession time….sometimes I feel jealous. This day, driving in my car alone, was one of those days. I began to “mourn” the loss of my vision of who I thought my daughter would be.  Before I could get too deep into this, God grabbed ahold of me and almost literally shook me out of my funk.

I had arrived at my destination, found a parking spot and was about to turn off the car. I had the radio on in the background but was absent-mindedly listening. A woman had just called in and asked if the radio station would take a prayer request. For some reason, I stopped myself from turning off the car to hear what it was. There was something in her voice. A softness and sense of peace that I so rarely hear. Her prayer request was short and sweet. Her six-week old son was just diagnosed with cancer. She asked for peace and understanding because she didn’t know how long they had left with him. Needless to say, I sat there and cried. The radio personalities stopped right then and there and prayed for this new mom and her husband. They prayed that this little boy would be miraculously healed. They prayed that God would reveal to them His plan and how, even should this baby return to God so soon, He would bring joy out of it someday.

I prayed with them and then I prayed for forgiveness. In my focus on what I felt I had lost by adopting a daughter with special needs I had overlooked the most important part. I still have a daughter to hug and to hold. I have a daughter who writes me notes all the time just to tell me how much she loves me. I have a daughter who is creative and funny and makes me laugh all the time. I have a daughter who is beautiful and loving. These parents may never hear their son speak a word. These parents may never feel their son’s embrace. I have all these things. How could I be so self-absorbed.

I sat there in my car for over ten minutes sobbing with my shoulders shaking. I had just experienced one of the many reasons their son was going through this battle at such a young age. A little perspective is all I needed to fully embrace my children for who they are…special needs and all.