Choices, Choices, Choices!
Choices! Life is full of choices. Every day we make choices. Some are made without much thought. To get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, make our bed etc. There are choices we make every day that are very tiresome, like what to make for dinner tonight! Sometimes we have to really ponder and pray and search before making choices, especially choices that could be life changing. Sometimes I think it would have been easier if God wouldn’t have given us so much leeway when it comes to choices. But then I don’t think I would like to be a robot that couldn’t make my own choices.
As a parent when our children are young we can help them make safe choices, smart choices, and sometimes difficult choices. Then as they get older and start making their own choices we wonder what they were thinking when they make some of the foolish choices they make. We wonder if we went wrong somewhere that would lead them to make such a choice and sometimes, at least I have and still do, wonder if I could have stopped them from making some of the life choices they have made that seem so indifferent to what they were taught. Did I not teach them enough? Did I not set a good enough example? Did I not punish severely enough when they were young for some of their wrong choices? Did I not verbalize my disapproval loud enough? I know most of us want the very best for our children and when we see them make some of the “dumb” choices they make it breaks our heart because we know what the consequences could be. Sometimes there are lifelong consequences that alter their whole lives and ours as well.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Deuteronomy 6:6 tells us, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on your doorpost of your houses and on your gates”
We as parents are to train our children in our homes when they are young. We are to give them the foundation to stand on when life gets tough. We are to instruct and live our lives before them as an example to follow. Raising children has to be one of the most rewarding, worthwhile, frustrating, exasperating, tiring jobs I have ever done! And it is never ending! Just because a child turns 18 doesn’t release us from the job of parenting! I will always be a parent! I may not have the control over the choices they make, good or bad, as I did when they were young, but nonetheless they still turn to me for advice and instruction. They don’t always take my advice and they sometimes seem to have forgotten all the teaching they were given when they were young. But I have had to come to the realization I can’t be responsible for the choices they make and I know in my heart I raised them in the way God would have me raise them. All of my children were raised in the same home, same environment, same rules, same consequences for their actions, same unconditional love, same structure and consistency. Have they all made good choices or the choices I would have made for them? Probably not. Some have wandered off the path and have made some choices that have altered the outcome of what God’s first choice for them would have been. But through prayer and unconditional love for them as a person they know the way home. They all have that firm foundation on which to stand and they have all come back at one time or another to their teachings as a child.
If you are a parent today that is struggling with the choices you see your child making, take heart! If you have given them the godly foundation on which to stand, His Word promises they will return to those teachings. If you didn’t know the Lord when your children were young but are serving Him now, take heart! He knows and loves them more than you do! Consistent living and setting Christ’s example before them and consistently praying for your children are the key!
I pray for all you parents out there that are trying to juggle school schedules, work or lack of work, finances, child care, and consistent parenting. I know your plates are overflowing! One good thing in all of this could be that you have more time with your children now than before and more time to instruct them in the ways of the Lord! Take the opportunity and spend time listening to the hearts of your children. Give them biblical answers to the things they struggle with. Take them to the scriptures and let them see what God has to say about some of the choices they are struggling with. You will not regret it down the road, especially if you have given them that firm foundation and path to find their way back if they should stray. Our children are a gift from God to raise for Him!
My greatest desire is to know that when I stand before Jesus someday and He asks what I did with all the children He entrusted into my care, I can proudly say, I raised them to know Him. And I want Him to be able to say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!”