I recently wrote an article for a writing assignment, “A Christian Parent’s Worst Nightmare.” While the article was based on a real life story, some of the details were not clear as I recalled the incident to write about it. When reading back over what I wrote, and thinking about that time in our lives, I realize we sure didn’t handle our daughter’s struggle with grace. (Why is hindsight always 20/20?). It grieves me.
I was aware at the time, we weren’t handling it well, but then to remember it now, puts a big stamp of “failure” on it, in my mind.
We are no longer full-time parents as in: the conditioning, training, coaching stage of life with our children. Our children are all grown up with lives and families of their own. So now, as I look back over those years, I see many failures in our parenting skills. Some I saw and knew about at the time, and didn’t take an intentional path to correct. Others, I simply did not see.
Sometimes my heart longs for a “do-over”. I wish I had been more attentive, more kind more understanding, more empathetic, more patient with the children. I wish I had prayed more and talked to “girlfriends less.” I wish I had been more intentional about daily telling them about Jesus, and not so much about, “what they could do and not do.” Yes, I have some regrets.
I think when we are young, we can be prideful and think we have it all together. I know that was me. I could not see it at that time.
In reality life is a process. All of us are in some stage of being shaped by the potter’s hand. No one, no one has it all figured out.
I am grateful that during the many years of my life as God has been shaping me, much like pottery on His potter’s wheel, he did not get so discouraged, or frustrated or lacking in understanding that he just “smashed” my potential to be a pot of noble use.
Father, we thank you for your grace, for your understanding and patience…..when we don’t get it. For all those new mothers, those mothers of many young ones, or mothers of teenagers that have days that make them feel like a failure. Draw them to you for times of rest and affirmation of your presence. Give them strength for the daily responsibilities and the decisions that are many. Help them draw on the wisdom of your word as they meet the needs of their families. Incline their hearts towards being intentional in teaching their children about you and your Son. Father, we give you all the praise and glory for your design of the family.
A Christian Parent’s Worst Nightmare
“Mom, I have something to tell you.” I was in the kitchen doing dishes after dinner. Our sophomore daughter was home for college for the weekend and her dad, brother and I, had just enjoyed our first meal together in months.
She had pulled up the counter stool, was sitting on it, visiting with me as I stood at the sink washing dishes. Something in her tone indicated this was going to be serious. An alarm went off in my head.
I quickly grabbed a towel to dry my hands and said, “Let’s move over to the sofa so we can talk.” The casual carefree way she chatted with us during dinner had disappeared in a matter of minutes.
We sat down and she began, “Mom, umm… I don’t know how to say this. I’m sorry. I know this will upset you and dad, but, umm…I don’t believe in God anymore.”
Incredulously I looked at her and said, “What? Did I hear you right? You said you don’t believe in God?”
The tears began to roll down her cheeks.
I continued, my panic unrestrained. “How can this be? You are at a Christian College?”
Honestly, I’m not sure I heard her initial reply. This was all too unbelievable.
Since her birth, she had never missed Sunday school, Sunday worship, Wednesday Bible study. She had made a decision for Christ at 14. She cared about others, especially the lost. All through High School she had shared Christ with her friends. She was once crushed when a friend did not accept her beliefs about Christianity for himself. Her grandfather was a preacher. Us, her parents, were missionaries in Mexico. All of these thoughts swirled in my head for some time before I was even aware…. she was sitting there, turmoil all over her face, trying to explain it to me.
It’s not an uncommon story. The statistics are grim. Three out of four children raised in the church, when they go away to college, will walk away from church and their faith.
There are a myriad of reasons:
- The church is often guilty of entertaining our children and youth into Christianity.
- They don’t see the same Christianity they are taught lived out in their parent’s lives.
- We have not taught them truth with its scientific and historical evidence.
- They are sent out into the world and universities where religious belief among intellectual educators is Atheism.
I Timothy 4:16, “Watch your doctrine and your life closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
As parents and church leaders, we have not prepared our youth to defend their doctrine or to have the will to do so by helping them understand their identity in Christ.
Youth leader request a speaker: http://www.crossexamined.org/problem.asp
Parents pass on this info: http://www.god-evidence-truth.com/
Our daughter? She is faithfully loving and serving God after three years of turmoil in her search for truth.