Letting Go and Letting God

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Letting Go and Letting God

When our kids were young, they were always excited for Sunday school or Awana nights.  We attended services as a family each week and I was proud of our children’s love and hearts for God.  In my mind, I imagined that our family would spend the next 18 years, continuing in this same blissful manner until our kids went off to college. Thankfully, my wife and I discovered Grace Based Parenting when our children were young and we were determined to build our home into an atmosphere of grace. Around this same time, we also started serving in our local church, attending small groups and eventually leading studies and other parents to Grace Based Parenting. Our kids would often find my wife and I reading the Bible and we had a special night each week where we would lead our kids in family Bible studies.  Soon, our kids also started serving in our local church through teaching younger kids twice per month.  Our home became the home all the neighborhood kids felt safe and secure.  Kids knew they were always welcome and our home soon became the place where everyone would “hang out”. Droves of pre-teens would eat meals with us, share their struggles with us, and learn how to pray with us.  For many, sitting down as a family to eat a meal was only reserved for holidays.  Many would learn, at our dinner table, about acceptance, unconditional love and how Christ loves them and wants a relationship with them.  I am proud to say that many of these kids starting attending church for the first time and ultimately came to know Christ because of our children and our Grace Filled home. In Middle School and into High School, our kids were active in youth group, summer camps and missions trips.  They both came to know Christ during time away from my wife and I, when they learned to reach out to God in times of struggle. Not only were our kids growing, but as my wife and I became more and more filled with the Spirit, soon we were leading small groups, volunteering to help the homeless and I started leading men’s ministry.  We often brought the kids with to serve or help with childcare because in my mind I thought, you can never get enough of God.  Soon, our family was involved in church activities 4-5 days per week and while my wife and I were strengthened and uplifted, our kids were slowly being burned out. We started to hear comments like “Do we have to go to the church again?” and we knew there was a red flag when my son told my wife “You’re making me not want to attend church when I grow up.” We were confused.  What had changed? First, we realized that friends and girl/boy friends had become more important to our teenagers social development. They wanted more and more time with friends and less and less time with mom and dad.  As my daughter put it bluntly “It doesn’t matter how cool you are as parents, sometimes we just need a break from you guys.”  Second, we realized that we took a wonderful thing, and made it a part time job for our kids. Sometimes more is not always better. A few weeks ago, my wife and I realized that we needed to ease off.  We went back to grace and realized that we wanted our kids to be thirsty for God not burned out from too many church related activities.  We have great kids who have great hearts for God.  They serve at our church, help with a small group and attend services each week.  My daughter attends youth group, serves with and often attends church services with her boyfriend.  Why am I complaining when they need a night off? We’ve now decided that we will “invite” – but not make it an obligation for our children to attend our weekly activities with us and if they decline, we have to have the grace to accept their decision.  Our children are now at an age where they are learning to spread their wings and in a few years, will be leaving our nest.  The last thing we want is to force them or overwhelm them in these critical years.  Ultimately, we know the hearts of our children and we are trusting in God’s plan for their lives. As parents, it’s easy to forget that our children are at a different level of spiritual maturity than us. They have yet to leave the security of our home and enter the world to face struggles and sometimes pain.  We’ve built a solid foundation but part of their walk with Christ has to be on their own, trusting in Him.  As much as parents want to, we cannot rush the power of the Holy Spirit working and shaping God’s beautiful masterpiece in our children’s lives.  Our children are now almost adults and we’ve reached that point in their faith journey where we need to let go…and let God.

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