"I used this material with both my daughters, one of whom reached her marriage bed still pure. The other daughter decided not to wait."
She still recommended the material, but I could feel her wounded heart. I'm sure she was forgiving of her daughter, but it still hurts when they choose the wrong path. We never know if they'll stray, or for how long and with what consequences.
We can have the best intentions and read the best materials, but we're still imperfect parents with great days and awful days and many in-between days. It's like the slightly sighted leading the blind.
How do we find the Light and stay in the light? How do we direct them to the Light and keep them on its straight and narrow path, even while we stray at times ourselves?
I lay awake last night after calming a dreaming child.
In the next bed over lay my sleeping Mary, my stubborn one. Oh, how my heart worries over her! Her kisses melt me, her hugs delight, but her stubborn ways frighten me daily. Will she be the one who decides not to wait? Will she be like the stubborn relative on Daddy's side, practically her twin emotionally? Will she pick and choose what she wants to obey in the Bible, stubbornly having it her way?
A teachable heart is not always discernible in her, though I know the Holy Spirit works in the recesses of her soul. For sometimes, much later, she comes up to apologize. It's so hard for her to admit when she's wrong; the confession part of our prayer time really challenges her.
I lay there, praying for her. Pleading with the Father to keep her in the Light. I prayed for a loving, close relationship with her, so as not to provoke her. My reactions will make or break it for the two of us, as the years pass. The other day I read that: it is our loving relationship with our children that allows our teaching to penetrate their hearts.
And isn't this true of the Father's relationship with us? We follow Him readily because of His everlasting love?
A parent's prayers work like this: We pray for an ideal outcome and the Spirit changes our heart to make that outcome more likely. We think we're praying for change in our child, but really, the change must occur in us.
We help deliver His love and truth. We put hands and feet and heart to Biblical truth, making it real for our children. If I want my daughter to be submissive, sacrificial, gentle, humble...I must be those things first. My heart must be teachable because imperfect though I am, He can work wonders through me.
Every time I lay awake, worrying over a child, the truths swirl and whirl, making me dizzy. And I always come back to this:
Parenting is a prayer.
At the very least, the more we pray, the more grace we receive; I can't prove that but I can feel it. And grace is what we really want, what we really need, isn't it?
Forgive me Father...I am trying, but I can't be like you. Cover me. Cover my children. May we have the gift of your favor.