A number of years ago my husband Dave and I vacationed in Maine. Between the two of us, we have six adult children. Some of them accompanied us on the week long, lake in the woods vacation.
Dave grew up in Maine and we were visiting an area that various relatives and friends of his still lived. As part of the vacation we took a day trip into Portland. That evening we attended a minor league baseball game. One of the couples that join us were long time friends of Dave. I had gotten to know them after Dave and I were married a few years early. Both my adult children were at the game along with several other family members. The Sea Dogs failed to provide a win but we all had a great time.
As is often the case, a Facebook post followed the event touting the fun of the evening. To this day I am haunted by a comment made on that post. It was not negative or sarcastic in any way. It was intended to be purely complementary. It is highly likely that any one reading it would have responded with an “Aw, that’s nice.” For me, however, it hit home in a way that made me uncomfortable then and today it leaves a lingering sadness I just can’t shake.
Our friend who made the comment has three girls of her own that she was raising with her new husband. These girls were her life. It was clear that she was over the top in admiration of them and in placing them as the number one priority in life as so many parents do today.
In seeing the picture of me and my children, she responded with a heart and commented that my children were really great people and I had won at life. I was a bit taken aback but I am sure I responded with a heart as well.
What parent doesn’t want to hear how great their children are? I love them beyond measure and with no strings attached. They are smart, established, confident and successful adults contributing to society in a positive way. So why does this comment still haunt me all these years later?
I often think back to my child-rearing years. When I do, Proverbs 22:6 always comes to mind, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This leaves me searching and examining, longing to determine what went wrong.
My then husband and I thought we did all the “right things”. We…
took them to church, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
said prayers at mealtime and bedtime.
read Bible stories.
sent them to church camps in the summers.
gave them Bibles and Bible studies to do.
lead them to say the “I accept Jesus” prayer.
volunteered our time at the Church.
gave of our finances.
Yet today, neither are following Christ. One is just moving through life and seeing where it leads while the other’s heart has turned, unwilling to believe in a God that would simply forgive without retribution.
I did not bring my children into a solid Christ following adulthood. I have not won at life. Maybe by the world’s view I have, but not in the arena of eternal life in God’s Kingdom or in showing my children how life is not complete without Christ at the center.
Our lives more forward and my children are in God’s hands. I pray for them daily trusting that God is indeed alive and acting in this world in His time. My role in which I have been imperfect in preforming is to:
Depend on Christ
Model a Christ-centered life
Equip my children
Even as a parent of adult children I have influence, not to change them but to change me. As Jesus shared in His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good actions and glorify your Father in heaven.”
This is what I needed to do years ago and what I need to do today. This is what my children need to see. I can show them Christ and demonstrate His truths in every opportunity God gives me. The rest is in God’s hands.
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