Recently, I met a woman who parents teenagers, like me. As I listened to her describe her frustrations, I heard a woman who was striving to control so much. I heard a woman whose heart was cracking under pressure to force obedience from her children.
This forced obedience was over issues that were small compared to what really needed to be addressed. The maturing of the children into young men, soon to leave the house. The release of controlling every moment, to allow decisions and their consequences to be experienced.
Granted our family’s approach to parenting is different– by comparison my children may seem almost feral- no hard and fast curfews, no set bedtimes, freedom to go and experience different things others may never have been allowed to do. The understanding is they are required to check in and confirm they are okay and when they’ll come home. At their age it is a matter of earned trust and preparing for the freedom of college.
This dear mother I met has weighed heavily on my heart– she is tired, saddened, hurt, and even angry that things aren’t being instantly obeyed. I see a woman who is trying to catch so much in her hands that as she holds more and more in her hands the most important things are being squished and damaged (see stop the presses!).
The hurt I see on her face and hear in her voice can be released and healed– if she turns to God and holds up to Him all that she has been trying to desperately try to catch and hang onto in her life.
There comes the time in every parents’ life when they have to recognize their “control” must be relinquished and released to the very God who gave them these children on loan. They are not our possessions, they are gifts from God (James 1:17).
He has His own purposes and plans (Jeremiah 29:11) for the children He has blessed us with. As many of us promised at our children’s dedication/baptism, we know that God has a plan and it may differ from ours. It is our job to train up our children (Proverbs 22:6) and then release them to the God we say we trust.
If we do release them, we will find that God will do greater and wilder things through our children than we could have ever believed or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). We just need to trust Him.
**looking for some more encouragement? Check out Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian or check out a parenting class at your church. There are many available to help navigate this season in life.