I don’t know about all of you, but I have a serious investment in my children’s futures. I feel responsible for making sure they become well-educated, productive members of society. I want to make sure they are happy and fulfilled. I want to make sure they have vibrant and deep relationships with Christ.
I have found that I am so focused on these things that some times I believe I worry too much about them.
Take church for example. I want my children to have a lifelong love of the church – for obvious reasons. So I am acutely aware of their experiences now. See, because of my job, my kids don’t just get to enjoy the benefits of church; they are servants of the church as well. Many times I have conscripted my kids to do things that other children don’t have to do: fold flyers, clean the sanctuary, set up tables and displays, etc. And they don’t have a choice. Many times I am there on Saturdays and such preparing for some event, and my children are expected to do whatever is needed. As well, they spend much time there, just being. Often I have to take them to work with me because I have no other alternative.
I worry about this because I don’t want them to get weary of church. How many times have I heard preachers’ kids talk about becoming burned out on church because they were there all the time? How many clergy children turn away from the church because they resented the time it took from their families?
So I really struggle with trying to control my children’s church experiences and to protect them from “overexposure.”
God really spoke to me about this situation yesterday. See it was a school holiday. And, just so they wouldn’t be “forced” to hang out at church all day, I enrolled my kids in a day camp. It was all fun and games with movies, swimming, games and crafts. Just what every kids loves right? I was sure I was doing the right thing and giving my children a balanced approach to investing their time and energies. I had a plan and it was a good one.
When I arrived to pick them up, the leader handed me a piece of paper. She wanted to make sure I got it. It was reflection piece about Hope’s dreams for her life. And right in the middle, in big letters, perfectly spelled, were the words, “I have a dream to one day be a minister.”
You can imagine what that did for my heart. So when we got home, I asked her why she wrote that. She explained that being able to tell people about Jesus was the best job in the world. She told me that she loved the church, and hoped to work there one day. Wow, how humbling for me.
How short-sighted am I? In my quest to control my children’s experiences (so that they find the “right” path,) I fear that I am getting in the way of what God is doing in their minds and hearts. I spend so much time planning and organizing their lives to make sure they get the right experiences. I am beginning to realize that I am leaving Him out of the process.
He is speaking very deeply to me that I need to get out of His way and allow Him to do the work He wants with my children. I need to stop trying to control their paths. Because His path is the better one. Now, that is going to be a challenge for this control freak mother. But I am hoping with the King’s help, I will become better each day at it.
Please forgive for my constant need for control. Help me to have a deep and abiding trust in You and Your plan for my children. Give me the discernment to see You at work, and to allow You complete access to my children’s hearts and minds. Help me to do away with the plans and visions I have for them, and instead, fill me with a joy and desire to see them embrace Your plans instead. Help me to be an encourager and supporter of their prayer lives, so that they might discover for themselves Your divine will. And Lord, even if I don’t understand or agree with the path You put before them, please help me to have a peace and assurance that they are walking with You.
May my children grow to be warriors in Your army. May their hearts beat strongly for You. May they, every day of their lives bring You honor and glory. And may they be filled and led by Your Holy Spirit every step of the way.
In the name of Christ I pray,
If you are a controlling parent and need a little laugh today, try this video on for size. I have found that nothing reflects my mothering style better than this. I can totally see myself doing this to my child. (Time: apps. 1 minute.) Have a great day!