I’ve had some discussions on life’s hard questions with our kids. We’ve navigated some heartbreaking waters. I’ve tried to be sincere and transparent. Still, I wonder…am I doing enough? Do you wonder this too?
I can try to answer every question with the polished rhetoric of a famed theologian…but my factual answers alone are not enough. I was part of a discussion recently about this. What do you think of my conclusions:
I will say this…many things do not have complete answers. I sincerely believe the exodus of young people from our churches has more to do with looking for genuine, life-changing, vital faith (not just keeping the rules and looking good), as well as searching for true agape love, fleshed out. Like it or not, we have a lot of conditional, strings-attached love going on in our churches. We need to cultivate the ability once again to love people right where they are, as God does. “Just As I Am”.
This is where I am on this. What am I doing with my faith? In the end, I cannot change the hearts of my children. I can only change mine. Paul said his faith was manifested “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left” (2 Cor. 6:6,7). The “train up a child” proverb is just that…a proverb. It is not a promise. We can train up. The choices remain with them. So I am gathering that this means my responsibility lies largely with me, my faith, my walk…and how much is “caught, not taught” on a daily basis in our home. Yes, convicting. I’ve blown it badly, but I’ve tried to be candid and honest with our kids and allow them to see my tears and struggles as well as my confidence, because they need to see what it looks like to rally in faith, too. What it looks like to regain footing, to repent, to keep on plugging in this walk.
The truth we don’t want to face is, as soon as we take our first breath, we begin the process of dying. I’m not trying to be morbid, just honest. We will all “fall down” (though not likely from the Black Death…read the history on that one). The scriptures remind us again and again that this life on Earth is fleeting…a vapor. I feel it more every year as my body tires and declines. We all exclaim, “Where has the time gone?”
Here is my stance. I want my remaining years to count. If there is something else about genuine faith that I am supposed to exhibit to our kids and lend authenticity to all the words they’ve heard and read…I want it. I realize that in making that declaration, I am telling God I want hard things. Everyone can have faith that appears shiny and new when life is good and there are no hardships or challenges. So I have to brace myself for the difficult. I know my own life is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I don’t know that about my kids. Really, the best we can all do is guess. Observe, hope, pray. But the only one who knows the truth is them. More than anything, I want them to be safe in the arms of Jesus–for eternity, and for the everyday journey. I want joy, and peace that passes all understanding for them. I want to live that out, however God chooses to accomplish that. I want my life to have a lasting echo in theirs, beyond the words on this blog.
We are not our own. We are to be useful to the Lord, and when He has used up all He can (there is joy in serving Jesus), He will call us home. The other day, our youngest was so worried I would leave for a trip to the store without her. She told me later, “Mommy, I kept saying to myself, ‘Please don’t leave without me! Please don’t leave without me!'” We enjoyed a nice day in town that day. But, if the course of things follows natural progression, there will be one day when I “leave” without our kids. I’ll go to be with my Savior, and they may feel very much alone. But although the ache may be there for a time, and gradually lessen…I want them to know with certainty where I am, that my faith found a resting place in my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer. I want them to see their own hearts as God does, and to finalize their stand with Him solidly so they can know Him as all of those things and more.
Do you want these things as well? Comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can pray with you. This matters.