It was a beautiful, warm spring day today and I got my bike out and rode, It felt wonderful and I had been waiting all winter to be able to ride again, life suddenly looks a lot brighter right along with the weather, or maybe because of the weather.
But eventually I had to park the bike and as soon as I did I found that there were still two things on my mind that were rather weighty. I’m not sure I can stay awake long enough tonight to write about both issues so I am going to tackle the one that seems to have taken precedence in my heart.
I am thinking a little bit about how things that happen In church when children are young can affect the way they look at the institution of the church for the rest of their lives.
What do you do when your adult children reject organized religion because of things that happened when they were younger? Now I know that it isn’t about church and it is about a personal relationship with God, but too often when there is no Christian fellowship of any kind in our adult children’s lives it is pretty hard for them to regain a relationship with Christ. As a parent, that hurts.
We want what is best for them because they are our children and we love them and we yearn for them to find the peace and joy we have found. We also have to realize that we can’t tell them how to live and we certainly cannot make a decision to have a relationship with Christ for them. Even though the desire may burn within us, we cannot manipulate or interfere or “assist God” when our children are adults, it may drive them further away. However, we can intervene with prayer. Prayer that is consistent, humble, thankful, and fully covering every concern.
These are hard conversations to have with ourselves and certainly make for some regrets. After all, didn’t we try our best to teach them our religious beliefs, our ethical values and morals? Didn’t we try to instill in our children that fact the spiritual journey they are on is their journey, not our journey but we care deeply that they attain that goal. Then why does it feel so personal and hurt so very much when they reject the very thing that gives us our strength and hope? Why do we think it is our fault?
We can spend time beating ourselves up for not being more vocal about faith matters or not being a better example or any one of a thousand things or we can start from this moment on praying for our adult children, sharing a book or article that has helped us in our lives and also sharing the reason why. There are plenty of things that we could do that are unobtrusive.
Certainly keep talking to them at times in the least stressful way possible. There is a fine line here as we certainly do not want to force our faith on them or become overbearing about our beliefs. That could close any doors for future, healthy discussions on the God we love so much.
I think that the Parable of the Prodigal Son ( found in Luke 15:11-32 can provide us with some advice. Just as the Father in this parable didn’t assume responsibility for changing the heart of his son and mind, neither should we, that isn’t our role. Our role is to pray and to wait…………….which is very hard to do when you are an impatient person as I tend to be.
It is hard to wait for our children (no matter what their age) to come to the realization that they need a relationship with Christ because they have to come to end of themselves first. It is hard to stand by and watch events that cause adult children to re-evaluate their choices in life, but it can be life changing moments. I believe that our respect for our adult children should always be apparent as that keeps doors of communication open.
Our actions speak louder than our words, even though they are adults, our children are paying more attention to how we are living than how we are telling them how they should live. Be honest and willing to admit where you are wrong and let them watch you do the right thing the next time.
So grab God’s hand and accept His help as he guides you through this hurt and worry but never stop loving them, never, never stop praying for areas where God can get inside their hearts and always remember God loves them as much as He loves us.
…………………………and so I ride