Here I am at age 55 with 5 grown children and 5 that I still have some kind of responsibility for. That’s a lot of 5’s!
My older kids all grew up at once. They are now 28, 25, 23, 22, and 19.
They got jobs, learned to drive, started noticing the opposite sex, got their hearts broken, found out that not all people are as nice as their family, started exploring the ways of the world, tried lots of new things – even some things that grieved my heart, disobeyed my orders, rejected my values, stopped sharing what was happening in their lives, and seemed to forget everything they had been taught.
It made me question myself. Did I really teach them what I should have? Did I fail as their mother and their teacher?
It has been a very rough 7 years. Even rougher than losing our house and wandering around the United States for 7 years. Now I’m seeing 7’s! That makes 14 years of rough times.
The hardest thing was seeing my kids seeming to lose their faith. We have been believing God for big things for so long. And it seems like most of those things haven’t happened yet. I guess they got tired of waiting and decided that our life of faith was misguided. That we really can’t live by faith and depend on God and trust Him to reward those who diligently seek Him.
I started finding out about things that my kids were doing. I heard some language that they were using. It became obvious that they were not concerned with pleasing God or pleasing me.
I wondered if I hadn’t taught them enough about the fear of God. I thought maybe I should have been more strict or more regimented in my teaching of the Word. I felt sick in body and sick at heart when I saw them slipping away from the moral precepts and standards that I had always set in our home.
I caught myself imagining them in their sinful acts. It stole my joy for quite a while. It interfered with my ability to enjoy my daily life with the rest of my family. I have to admit I had to fight anger, too. I was shocked that they would throw away all the beautiful ideals and dreams that I had for them. I was indignant that they would think I was wrong and that they knew better than I did. I think all of that added to my shame and blame. It was a miserable time.
I realized that I was blaming myself for their sins. I prayed and asked the Lord how I should view this. He let me know that I had done the best I could do in teaching them His ways. He reminded me of all the Bible passages I had studied with them, all of the praying we had done together, and specific times I laid hands on them and prayed for them.
He told me that I had put up barriers to keep them from sin and the ways of the world. It was not my fault that they crossed them.
It was not my fault that they were choosing a life of sin. I was not responsible for their choices, and I couldn’t take the blame for them. They were old enough to make their own choices, and it wasn’t my fault that they were making bad choices.
I let go, and gave them back to the Lord again. I realized that I couldn’t stop them from doing what they were doing. And I let go of the false responsibility and guilt. I gave them into God’s care completely.
I don’t keep track of their comings and goings. I do make sure that they don’t bring anything into our home that will contaminate the atmosphere of our home. One of them left home, because he refused to abide by our rules.
But he is plenty old to be on his own. It was hard for us, because we viewed ourselves as one big happy family. At least, that’s how I saw us.
It’s hard when they grow up and start making their own choices, and the choices are not what you would choose. To see them stop believing what they were taught is the hardest thing of all.
But the biggest lesson I have learned is that we can’t blame ourselves. No matter how they were raised, some will decide to try out new ideas, new beliefs, different ways than their parents taught them. It’s not anything that we did wrong. It’s just that they are individuals with free will.
It was very freeing when I finally accepted the fact that it wasn’t my fault.
Now I pray that God will protect them and watch over them. And I pray that they will fulfill their prophetic destinies. I’m declaring in prayer that my children are taught of the Lord and great is the peace of my children. I’m decreeing that I have trained them up in the way they should go and when they’re old they won’t depart from it (meaning they’ll return to it).
In the meantime, I love them and do whatever I can to support them and help them. I’m keeping the door open for when they will return. I’m adopting the attitude of the father of the Prodigal. I will run to them with arms wide open when they turn back to the ways of the Lord.
I’m so thankful that the Lord brought me to the freedom and peace of knowing that I’m not to blame for their sins.