"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Prov 22:6 This verse sometimes lends itself to a cliche in the world of Christian parents. I struggle with this verse because in the reality of the world I have seen wonderful, Christ-loving and devoted parents have children grow up to indeed turn far from that, and not follow after what they learned as they were raised. And that scares me. Really bothers me. Its not that I don't think God has our children in his hands no matter what happens to them or what they choose, I just want them to choose the "right" way to go...as the verse says. But then I also wonder if what I am training them in IS the way they should go. I know overall loving God and others, etc, but all the little details that fall in between. And then there are the biases and views that each of us holds that we may not even realize, that are passed down just because they are ingrained or part of who we are.
But in the midst of training up our children I sometimes think, do I even have a firm grasp on what I am trying to train them in, or the answers they need, or the direction that is best for them. This is when I remember that I know nothing, the Lord directs their steps, and I can only leave it in His hands. So in leaving it to the Lord, I have to pray for myself as a parent...because it is us that they come to for answers, for help, with their questions, with their struggles, with their challenges. And what do we do with that? Is the help, the answers, the encouragement that I give the right thing for them, what they need in this moment?? I have to pray for the wisdom for answers when they ask hard questions, the best words to encourage them when they need it, the appropriate amount of letting go when there are consequences for their actions, the vision to see beyond my desires as a parent and into the heart of God for my child.
I think as our children grow we realize more and more how completely out of our control they really are. How utterly frightening, both for us and for them sometimes. My four year old has been asking some amazing questions, hard questions. His brain is always working and way beyond what I can keep up with. I don't always know what to answer or how much info to give for those answers, but I don't ever want to give him wrong information either. I need help. I need to be in the Word more to be able to give scripturally relevant answers that point him to the Lord. I need the wisdom to know the level of knowledge he is ready for. I need guidance to know how to channel his energy and curiosity!
Lord, you created them and us. You chose us to be their parents and them to be our children. Give us the grace to ask for wisdom each day to be able to answer them appropriately, train them correctly, and guide them toward you in every way. Help me to know that I don't need to have all the answers, but that in the moment to trust that you do and you will give me the words to say, or the direction to point them in. Above all, may I always be pointing them to you, to your Word, and to what we know to be true.
As they grow, may I grow too. Please give me the desire to grow and change and learn as they are going through the same process.
I just heard "This is my Father's world....though the wrong seems oft so strong, He is the ruler yet!" Help me to remember You, the Father, the Ruler of all and please be that in the heart of me and my children. Amidst the wrong and craziness of the world that sometimes seems so strong and overshadowing, I pray that You, Lord would shine through my children, our conversations, our relationships as they grow.
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps." Prov 16:9
"The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction." Prov 16:21