Did seeing your adult child during the holidays make you sad? Were you made more aware of the choices he is making that your don’t agree with? You loved being with your child, but you came away from your family celebrations with an ache in your heart. You sense that all is not well in your child’s life.
Over the past several years I have talked to and heard from dozens of parents regarding their kids’ choices that they don’t agree with. Some of these choices are preferences—not immoral or illegal or even foolish—simply different than the parent would make. However, the parent chooses to make a big deal out of it because the child is not living her life the way the parent would.
Some of the choices are immoral. While this is sad, again many parents hastily sacrifice the relationship because the child has chosen differently from the parent.
No matter the type of decisions your child is making, I understand the angst. However, most parents fail to do one thing that would give them peace and have the most effect in their child’s life. Many parents fail to prayerfully give their children to God, trusting Him to work in their lives as only He can. Many parents feel it is their responsibility to constantly hold before their children the error of their ways (whether real or perceived) and demand that they change before they will have a growing relationship with their child.
This morning God reminded me of how seriously He takes the handing over of our children to Himself. In Acts 20:17-38, Paul is giving the church in Ephesus his farewell message. He told them, “And now I entrust you to God and to the message of His grace.” The same word is used in Acts 14:23, “When they had appointed elders for them in the various churches, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the protection of the Lord in whom they had believed.” The footnote of the NET Bible explains the definition of entrust—“Or ‘commend’; entrust someone to the care of protection of someone. . .Of divine protection.” Paul and the elders of the early church realized the best place for their dear friends was in God’s care.
Do you trust your child with God “in whom you have believed”? Will you prayerfully put your child in God’s sovereign hand and close His fingers over your baby, knowing that He is working in your child’s life? It is time for us to realize that we have no power to affect change in our adult children’s lives other than by prayerfully entrusting them to God and loving them no matter what*.
The core of man’s sin is we want what we want. And often a parent’s sin is wanting what they want in their kids’ lives. But we are not God and our kids’ lives are not ours. We cannot insist our kids live the way we choose. I am not saying you should not be concerned about your kid’s poor choices. But don’t make her choices the center of your relationship. As the new year begins, look ahead to Christmas 2017. What changes in your relationship with your child would make next Christmas a wonderful time for both of you? Will you start today to bring about a better relationship with your child and give God room to work in her?
Do two things every day.
~Prayerfully entrust your child to God. Envision giving your baby to Him with His loving hand enclosing around him—“entrusting him to the protection of the Lord in Whom you have believed” (Acts 14:23, paraphrased). When we trust God with our kids we give God room to work in our kids’ lives. We no longer feel the need to be the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit to them.
~Pursue a healthy relationship with your child. Stop making what you don’t agree about the center of your relationship. Instead, see her as the child she was and the person she is. Encourage her in positive areas of her life. Show interest in the things she is interested in. Be the person you would like to have in your life.
I cannot guarantee the response you want, but by consistently doing these two disciplines, you will be giving your child and yourself wonderful gifts—peace, the care of the Lord, and a healthier relationship.
What do you think? Will you commit to a better relationship with your child in 2017 by entrusting her to God and showing her love no matter what?
*For more ideas on showing your child love no matter what check out Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make Decisions You Don’t Agree With.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.