Do you remember the first time you were given freedom and ownership over something? Maybe when you got your own room, a car, or an office? You were put in charge of a project or chose colors and carpet for your new house.
What about when you had children? Did you have grand ideas of how you would raise them? Were you determined to do it differently than how you were raised?
Then you actually had kids.
I don’t know about you, but my Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver, Brady Bunch expectations rarely work out these days. It feels like such a struggle to get our ducks going in the direction we want them to go.
Do you ever feel like you are just floating on the currents of the culture? What I mean by that is do you feel like you don’t have a choice when it comes to your parenting? It’s like you’re sitting in a tube on a river, stuck in the current but, what you really want is a motor boat you can steer. The culture’s currents are strong and many of us have just given up because it’s so hard to go against the current.
I’m thinking of things like family dinners and face-to-face conversations. Some of you are working so hard to protect those things and I’m going to say to you, keep paddling! Keep fighting, do whatever it takes to hang on to opportunities to invest in relationships. God does eternal things inside our connections with our spouse and children.
I want to be honest. I hear resignation in the voices of parents in our culture, a sad tone of surrender echoes through homes. Many have grown weary and you know that when we get tired, we don’t think straight. We fought hard for a while but then we began to believe the lies of the enemy.
Our Father gave us children to raise in his ways. He provides a blueprint and all of the materials we need. We can go to him for wisdom and instruction when we get stuck. But the enemy is alive and working through our culture to convince us that this beautiful design God gave us to follow is not possible, it’s outdated, even ugly.
We say things like,
- that’s just teenagers
- boys will be boys
- family dinners are a thing of the past
- my kids would laugh if we had a devotion together
- I just want them to be happy
- he’s just got to have that new phone; all of his friends have one
- I just can’t get my kids to ___________________
Do you hear the tired voices of parents waving their white flags? We can’t give in to the flowing currents of this culture, because if we do our children will pay the price. I wonder about the work ethic of the boys that will grow up to marry my daughters. If we don’t have time for relationships and conversations with our children now, what will their families follow as a model?
We still have a choice. It may not be the popular choice, and we may hear it from our kids, but we can’t crumble under the pressure of our culture when we hear God’s voice leading us. Our parenting cues should come from the Father, not from this world.
And when we see our children, especially our teenagers making stupid choices, we can do far more than worry. When their character is far from godly, we don’t have to concede to the message of our culture, “that’s just the way teenagers are.” Sure, they are going to do stupid things, but when our children aren’t following the Lord, we can’t just concede and wait for better days.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
We gotta fight! Paul goes on to talk about the armor of God which includes the Word and then wraps up with prayer.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (v.18)
We have the same power in us that raised Jesus from the dead if we are believers! God tells us that we have not because we ask not. (James 4:2) What is it that you are not asking for? Are you praying big, bold prayers because God wants us to ask for things that only he can do. We CANNOT change our children. We CANNOT protect them from the enemy. We CANNOT save them.
But God CAN!
We gotta fight this battle in prayer. Pray for boldness and wisdom to parent your kids as God guides you. Pray boldly for your children. Don’t give up on them!
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9