I used to think that God gave me kids so I could raise them up to be lights for Him. That my job was to instill in them Godly characteristics, teach them to love God, and to show them how to bear witness of His love for us. And while those things are all true, I have come to see that God 's intention was not so one-sided. God blessed me with these children so that He could teach me!
I was reflecting on child number three the other day in preparation for her graduation from high school. This past year has not been the easiest with her. It appeared that every rule we put in place was simply an obstacle for her to challenge. And unlike her two older sisters, who would cautiously approach boundaries and occasionally lean hard against them, this child would get up a running start and robustly pole vault right over them.
And that's when the Lord gave me an "Aha!" moment. This child in the midst of all the uproar had been going to other people for advice. These people were not christian and certainly did not have the same perspective as my husband and I did. And while they were giving this child seemingly "good" advice, it was "worldly" advice and not based on the Bible. The advice "sort-of" supported our rules and boundaries, but didn't deal with the heart issue that was at the root of the behaviors. Because of this I was feeling frustrated, angry, and jealous.
Then I heard a sermon. A sermon about putting other things before God. A sermon about our focus and "serving two masters" (Matthew 6:24). And that still small voice, that so often grabs my attention so much more clearly than the whirlwind, said, "Listen." And so I did and God spoke to my heart:How hurt I was when my daughter turned to others and sought comfort from them. How frustrated I was when I gave her good, sound, biblical advice and she instead turned to the world. How jealous I was when she preferred the company and confidences of others instead of sharing with me. And yet, I turned to others for my comfort and reassurance instead of God. I failed to listen to the advice found within the Bible and "leaned on my own understanding." I complained and cried out to others regarding my daughter's poor choices, rather than pouring my heart out to God.
God, my heavenly father, desires that I turn to Him, seek Him for comfort and direction. I was just as wrong as my daughter for looking for another way. A way that was easier, more "sparkly", more inline with my fleshly desires. A way that made me feel good, rather than one that actually dealt with the heart issue that was at the root.
But there is more. Just as I would give anything for my children, God feels even more so towards us. His own son was sacrificed so that I will not ever have to fear death. (Philippians 2:7-9But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.) When I chose to believe and put my faith forever in Him, Jesus took on my sins and the punishment. I am forgiven forever because He gave everything for me.
God gave me these children, with their particular personalities, so that I can grow in my relationship with Him. This awareness has given me a new found ability to embrace their unique temperament and substance, and a new found love for the Lord has filled me. Psalm 35:9 And my soul shall be joyful in the : it shall rejoice in his .