Friday, February 22, 2013

On expectation

I remember hearing a mom speak about her grown children. The topic of the speech was on facilitating your children to know the Lord so that when they are adults, they are walking with Him. It was a great topic, and I listened with rapt attention. One of my bigger fears for my children is that they will walk away from the Faith they were raised in when they are adults. This fear has much to do with why I homeschool. I want to give my boys every foundational advantage to walking with the Lord when they are adults. I often pray that I will not be a stumbling block to their salvation in any way. As I listened to this mother, I was wholeheartedly agreeing with what she had to say, until she got to one part of her talk where she shared that her oldest son was not walking with the Lord, and that he "hadn't turned out." Something about that phrase jarred me. I got the picture of a cake baking in the oven, and collapsing into a flat mess when the door opens. But children aren't cakes. Is there really such a black and white line between "turned out" and "not turned out"? All of us have sinned and fallen short of his Glory. I don't think my heavenly Father is up in heaven, peering down at my behaviors and measuring whether I am "turning out" or not. And the same is true for my children. What I am doing by homeschooling my children is preparing for a harvest. But, I often ask myself what a "successful" harvest will look like. What if my children choose not to walk with the Lord? What if they are good and decent men, but don't want anything to do with the faith they were raised in? Will I think that they hadn't "turned out" and that my work was in vain? I have trouble thinking of things in such black and white terms. Sometimes the seed takes longer to grown into a thriving plant. And I can't imagine throwing in the towel and declaring myself a parenting failure if I get to the end of my active parenting days and my children don't act or look anything like I had imagined they would. I want to give them liberty, through Christ, to be who they are. I want to set aside my expectations of who they will become, and just let them be. I want to trust my Heavenly Father to lead them, pursue them, tend to them and help them grow. That is one job that I can take my hands off of. I can feel my spirit relax as I type this. There are so many things that are on my shoulders. There are so many tasks and jobs I have in rearing them that I get overwhelmed and exhausted. But this, this one thing of pursuing their spiritual hearts, this is not my job. And it may take a lifetime, but I believe that if I train them up in the way they should go, that when they are old they will not depart from it. And if it does, in fact, take a lifetime for this particular harvest, I will certainly NOT think they hadn't "turned" out along the way.

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