“Therefore, the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me. 1 Samuel 2:30
“Here we go” she texted right before she took her math final. I knew it was time, I noticed the clock and had already prayed for her. There was a lot in those three simple words. I heard her say: “I am about to take the last math final of my life, thank goodness. Not sure what will happen in the end but I have studied, done my best and now I am just going to give what I have. It’s not fair that I had to teach this content to myself, that my professor was less than adequate. But, I took the initiative, was diligent, and got the material from another student because I want to do well. Not going to depend on someone to teach it to me, although that is what I paid for! No use dwelling on that now, it will be all over soon. I emailed the department head, explained the situation, voiced the facts in love and truth hoping justice will be served. After all, this is college and I kind of expected more. I need this A to boost my GPA so I can get into nursing school. Here we go…” To which I replied, ““Honor God. Do your best, press in, use that amazing mind He gave you and let Him take care of result.” She probably just nodded and said “Gotcha Mom, right with you,” (maybe she added a little eye roll, she is 18 after all).
In “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”, by Tedd Tripp he reminds us of our call as parents. Yes, call. God has placed us in authority of our children for His purpose. We show our love and obedience to God by disciplining and teaching our children to do the same. He says that there are two issues that feed into the person our children become (1) the shaping influences of life, and (2) their Godward orientation (Tripp, 2005, p. 24). We understand how we are to shape the influences in our children’s lives. We control their environment by their relationships, education, and activities. Most of these influences are “controllable” but some are out of our control. It is a fact, we don’t need to see statistics, a child that grows up in a family with two stable parents has a greater advantage of a “better life” than one that does not. I have to admit that fighting for our marriage so Avery would have both parents and therefore a better chance at a stable, fulfilling life was a primary motivation for me to pray for restoration of our family. When James died, my heart was crushed in more ways than one. What now Lord? What chance does she have now?
Sitting at a table in Chick-fil-A last week, I find myself in conversation with four, twenty-something year-old students. Each of them friends with Avery and influenced by her life. We gathered together to start a Bible Study. When I asked them to tell me a little of their spiritual journey and what brought them to Christ, they all smiled and giggled and said “Avery.” Wow! I was unable to control all of the shaping influences of her life but God made sure that her “Godward orientation” was right on. These young people saw something different in her, a purity, a peace, a purpose and not because she had the “perfect life.” I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. Proverbs 8:17
I recently wrote this in response to Tedd Tripp’s book: In general, parents want their children to be “successful” so they can have happy, comfortable lives. I believe our society defines “success” by material possessions, career satisfaction, physical ability and health, and emotional happiness. As parents we feed into that mentality and involve our children in a broad range of activities not considering if Christian values are being taught through the activity. We also try to make sure they are developing “self-esteem” but not considering if the activity is teaching our children to esteem others. Our goals as parents can influence our children in a non-biblical way. As we try to “get them saved”, religiously conform to family devotions or worship time, succumb to the pressure of well behaved kids, or an excellent education we could possibly be turning them away from God. “If you teach them to use their ability, aptitudes, talents, and intelligence to make their lives better, without reference to God, you turn them away from God” (Tripp, 2005, pg. 45). We are sending mixed signals to our children when we press them towards goals that are unbiblical. God says we are to do everything for His glory. We need to direct our children to God and not to their own resources.”
Before you start applauding my fabulous parenting skills and my perfect child, let me say, DON’T! The Bible says, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me,” John 12:26. This is simply an example of a perfect Father keeping His perfect promise. It has nothing to do with me.
My prayer for all of us, parent or child, in authority or under authority is this, that we will call on Him, and He will answer us; He will be with us in trouble, He will deliver us and honor us, Psalm 91:15
..the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very diligent to love the Lord your God… Joshua 23:10-11