adult children, children, faith, love, silence, Uncategorized

Why Wasn’t I Warned?

They warned me about having an infant. Sleepless nights. Colicky babies. Emotional craziness.

They warned me about toddlers. Exhausted from chasing little legs as they dash toward whatever catches their eyes. Grabbing hands before they reach into danger. Stepping on toys in the middle of the night. 

They warned me about elementary age. Dropping them off that first day of school. Adjusting to teachers. Learning to get along with other kids. 

They warned me about the pre-teen and teenage years. Searching for who they are. Dealing with mean kids. Schoolwork we don’t understand. Peer pressure. School pressure. And let’s face it, sometimes we look at them and wonder where in the world they came from and what happened to our sweet little baby?

But they didn’t warn me about parenting an adult child. 

To me, this has been the hardest to maneuver. 

We’ve lost any control we had in place to protect them. In some cases, we have to give up the dreams we had for our children. Because now, they are their own person. They make their own choices. And more often than not, they don’t want our advice or help.

We have to wait for them to come to us before we can offer correction, encouragement, and even speak Truth. 

And the hardest is when you see the train wreck ahead because of some of their choices, but you cannot save them from it. 

Often times, we have to sit back and allow the heartache and trial to take its course, and pray like crazy they learn from it. 

It’s hard. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a parent.

We look at our adult children and still see the innocent babies they once were, and our greatest desire is to wrap our arms around them and protect them from this big bad world. 

We want our rules firmly back in place. Because our rules were there to protect them, right? But we can’t. They’re grown. And they must deal with the consequences of their decisions. 

I say this will make them a better person, but then I find myself not truly believing it. They don’t have to learn. They don’t have to make the right choice next time. I can’t ground them for the rest of their life if do it again.

We can start to doubt our parenting skills. What happened? What did I do wrong? 

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6

When they are older… There is no specific age given. Just “when they are older”. It doesn’t say when they move out on their own. It doesn’t say when they are twenty-five, thirty, or even forty years old. The timeline is not ours, it’s up to them and God. But when we raise our kids to know God, His truth is deeply embedded inside of them. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can take that away.  

“So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 AMP

God gave us His word to train, direct, and speak to our children while they were still young, and it WILL accomplish what He desires when they are older.

We have all been given the gift of free will. We don’t have to make the right choices and sometimes we don’t. We still disappoint Him. We still walk into sin. We still find ourselves broken before the Lord. 

But God loves us so much that He won’t give up on us, or our children.

What’s the best thing to do with our adult children? Accept them. Love them. And pray. (And then pray more.) And KNOW that no matter how much we love our children, God loves them more. 

We must trust that He will take care of them. Because they are His children first. 

Do you have an adult child? What advice can you share to others walking into this unwarned territory of life? 

friends, silence, wisdom

Wisdom in Silence

I have a friend who has an amazing gift of keeping quiet when needed. To me, this shows a great amount of self control and wisdom on her part. 

I’ve admired this quality in her for as long as I’ve known her. 

But there’s a flip side to it, too. There have been times I have desperately wanted her to give me answers but she has remained quiet instead. Irritation can rear it’s nasty little head if I let it, and the gift I so admire, suddenly, becomes the gift I want her to ignore and just tell me what to do. 

But you see, it’s not her job to tell me what to do—that is … unless the Holy Spirit tells her to. 

And to be honest, I’m seeking answers from the wrong person at this point. 

We all need great friends. Someone who we can be real with. Someone who knows all the good, bad, and ugly—and still loves us. We need these people in our journey of life. 

But there are times, if we’re not careful, we can get so connected with a person that when a crisis arises the first person we call is that friend.  We forget to run to our Father. He’s the one with all of the power. Our friend is just a supporter, a carrier of burdens, and a comforter. 

But the Holy Spirit is all of these and more. He has the power to soothe our soul and intervene on our behalf with God who has the power to heal, change a situation, or help us see something in a different light.

“Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain. God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way God wants.”

Romans 8:26-27 NCV

Our friend can only do so much. Why is it that we expect more from them? 

Maybe because we unintentionally put them in the place of God? (Ouch! That’s stings a little. And not the message I intended to share, but it’s good, so it’s staying.) 

I want to be more like my friend. I want to know when to share wisdom and when to sit quietly. I want to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that I hear Him say, “share this” or “Shhh, they aren’t ready. Give Me time to work in their heart to hear the truth in the way it’s meant to be heard.”

“There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Ecclesiastes 3:7 

Which leads us to my point of this blog. Sometimes people are not willing (or in the emotional state of mind) to hear some truths. We must be careful with our words, even when our words are truth.

One of the most popular things said to me after my sister was murdered was “God is in control”.

Well…  yes, He is… but… 

In the middle of traumatic grief (grief that had a wide variety of crazy emotions attached to it) that was not what I was ready or wanted to hear.

In fact, my anger (in my grief) grabbed a hold of that and chewed it to bits. 

So, if God is in control, then what you’re saying is that God allowed my sister get raped, murdered, and dumped in the woods for 6 weeks until someone finally found her body? (Uhm… pretty sure that’s not what they meant to happen when they said it.)

With all of the crazy emotions I had running through me, that is immediately where my mind went. 

So you see, probably not the best thing to say to someone in a situation of loss. (Just a little inside tip;) 

It’s truth. But not a truth a grieving person may be ready to hear during this season of their life.

Better truths are to remind them “God loves you.”  “What was meant for evil God will use for good. Maybe not right now, but He will use it at some point. Hang in there. I’m with you.” 

It could be that we are suppose to remain silent until the Holy Spirit tells us to speak. It’s hard to be quiet when someone you love is hurting. It hurts us when they hurt. We want to comfort. We can even be afraid they may wander from God. So we force words (truth) on them in an attempt to control the situation.

My friend walked with me down a dark and ugly road for a long time after my sister’s murder. There were times I pushed her away, times I allowed her near, and times I was not a good friend to her at all, but she hung in there with me. Never giving up on me. And guess what, 90% of the time she was silent. She was there, giving me the comfort I needed and refusing to allow me to completely isolate myself, but without words. And in that 10% of the time she did have words, I trusted her words. I listened.

“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.”

Job 2:13 NLT

This one verse is such a powerful statement to us as we walk with someone through grief. More often than not, we get it wrong simply because we become uncomfortable in silence. 

Oh, my friend was praying, pleading, and even found herself angry at God at times, but it was all behind the scenes. She was my intercessor. Held my arms up when I couldn’t. And she never once left me.

Her silent strength means more to me than she will ever know. And I hope, if ever needed, I can be the same for her one day. 

“Later, when Moses’ arms became tired, the men put a large rock under him, and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands—Aaron on one side and Hur on the other. They kept his hands steady until the sun went down.”

Exodus 17:12 NCV

**I also had a Hur, another friend, who stood beside me and never left me. (More about her in another blog.)**

We need friends in our lives. We need them to hold our arms up when we are tired, but we have to be extremely careful not to place them higher than God. (If they are a good friend, they don’t want that position anyway.) 

And last, we need to learn to be a friend who listens to the Holy Spirit, speaking when He tells us to and practicing silence when He commands. It’s not our place to fix. Yes, we desperately want to help them get better, but our place is to walk beside them and be an intercessor in prayer for them.