I wouldn't for the world wish them back to four and six, but I do enjoy thinking about those days once in a while... Not because they were better days. They were joy-infused days, but they were also laden with hard choices and exhausting effort, just as these. Of course, my efforts and hard choices are no longer consumed with parenting. I'm thankful for then, and I'm thankful for now.
There is no greater joy than to see our children walking in truth. And, I sense, to the contrary, there is no deeper sorrow then to see them walk away from truth. I have wept with friends who have experienced this. I pray for them, and I want to help! I haven't come up with any easy answers, and I don't claim to have a formula, but there are some things that seem crystal clear to me, some things that I believe made a difference for us.
I hope to bring hope to some parents as I try to communicate. Even if your children are grown, maybe something here will inspire you, and you can talk with them and they can grasp a truth that will draw them to what is real! This is my prayer.
None of us have a guarantee for where our children will end up. To this point, Curt and I rejoice that our girls have both chosen to trust Jesus as their source for truth and have embraced the mindset that what matters more than anything else in this life is being a part of what God is doing - at this moment! Our girls, at 20 and 22, have begun to seek out their part in God's Grand Eternal Drama!
How do we convince our children that this is what life is about? Can we help inspire this vision in them? Can we light the fire of delight that burns within the heart of those who seek to know God? Can our joy in Him spill over onto them and make them long for something more than the beggarly elements of this decaying world?
I believe we will help or hinder. Not that we can make their choice for them. And we must have God acting as only He can. Each child will choose whether he or she will step out into the turbulent waters of the unknown and trust our Creator to be whom Jesus revealed. But we parents do play a vital role in discipling our children.
How do we spend the moments of our days? Are we possessed by the things of this life? Is life about food and drink and clothing and a job, and being in love, and having babies, and a nice home, and a reliable vehicle? Is it about working hard so we can play hard? Is it about being a part of a good church or getting a good education? Is it about our next vacation or our next shopping trip, hunting trip or mission trip? Is it about making our ministry go or building a church or non-profit organization?
Does my life communicate to my children that these things are what is most real?
Somehow, Ron and Dorothy Bailey convinced me and my brother that real life is not about any of this. Yes, much of it is necessary, but it isn't the most real thing, and it isn't what motivates those who follow Jesus.
I thank God that LaRae and Rachelle have, to this point, caught that same vision! I'm well aware that it isn't just because Curt and I caught it. We have been in a process of catching it for a long time and are still sinking our teeth into the reality of the eternal. We have also had a core group of family and friends who have and are embracing this vision and have played a huge role in the lives of our girls, but I am confident had we not embraced the pursuit of the real, our children wouldn't be where they are.
May you, my dear reader, see the God of forever! May His Everlasting Kingdom be as real to you as the air you breathe! May you and your precious children catch the spark that will light the fire of the eternal within your souls so that together we can all be a part of what God is doing both now and in the world to come!