When my children come against hard things in their lives, my tendency is to wonder what I have done wrong.
Did I schedule enough playdates when they were young?
Why do they spend so much time interacting with friends?
Did I enroll them in enough activities?
Are they in too many activities?
Should I have been more involved in this, that, or the other thing?
Should I have been less involved in this, that, or the other thing?
Should we have served less; should we have served more?
Should we have, should we have, should we have, should we have…?
Do you see the problem ?
I think our tendency as parents is to think that somehow if we do things correctly, our kids will encounter little adversity, and that they will be well-rounded, good at everything, or at least outstanding at something, confident, social, friends of everyone all while having healthy relationships with God and family.
It sounds silly in writing, but from the amount of mom guilt we experience, I think at the gut level, this is what we believe because this is how we function so much of the time.
But, wait a minute. We forget. We forget that our children have a sin nature and so does every single person in their lives. Not only that, but the hard in their life is necessary.
What if the hard is the very thing that is needed to make our children into the people God wants them to be? What if the pressure here is the very thing that forms compassion in them? What if the hard knock over there is the very thing that develops the perseverance they need to handle what God knows their lives will hold? What if that loneliness is the thing that drives them to the One Who truly knows them? What if some of the things they experience aren’t the result of something we haven’t done or have done, but instead is the hand of God fashioning them and forming them? What if that bad decision provides the exact moment God needs to bring them to Himself?
Joseph’s life was full of adversity, but it was that adversity that developed the character he needed to fulfill God’s purpose for Him. I am guessing if he were asked if he could have traded the adversity for a regular life, he would not trade it.
In my own life, it is through adversity that I have become more grounded and have grown and understood more of God’s heart toward me and others. This includes both the adversity brought on by life and the adversity brought on by my own sin and selfishness.
Let’s try to get out of the way and allow God to work in our children’s lives..
Let’s trust that He can use the adversity in our children’s lives to make something beautiful.
Let’s give up our need to control and instead pray His Kingdom come, His will be done in our kids’ lives.
Father, I thank You that You are always working in our lives. Please help me to get out of the way and not fear adversity in my children’s lives. Help me to help them through the pain and to point them to You. Give me the wisdom to not shield them from those things that You are doing to mature them. I trust You with their hearts and with mine. Thank You for holding our lives in Your hand. Amen.
Author: Wendy Gerdes