You can warn unsuspecting childless people that raising kids is hard, heartbreaking, and sometimes backbreaking work. It doesn’t matter; most of them will have kids anyway. Its how we keep this humanity thing going. But it’s not for sissies.
As parents, we have to make choices for our kids. What to feed them, when to feed them, how much to feed them. Feeding kids and thinking about feeding kids can take up a lot of time. And that’s just the food. There’s all kinds of decisions parents have to make. If I started to list them all, I might just get overwhelmed and have to stop writing, and go lay down.
In the last almost twenty years, I couldn’t even begin to think of how many decisions I have made for my kids. Together, Matthew and I have made thousands, I am sure. Some of them have been brilliant, some not so much. It’s hard to get things right all the time. Like our moms always said, “Kids don’t come with an instruction manual.”
It’s hard to know, early on, if your kids are going to turn out okay. Sometimes you can get most of this parenting thing right, and kids still turn out a mess. Sometimes kids can walk out of horrendous home situations and live beautiful, productive, and well-adjusted lives. It hardly seems fair, and it’s certainly unpredictable.
I always love talking to parents who are agonizing over some issue with their kids. No matter what the situation is, I think, “There’s a lucky kid.” That kid may not feel too lucky, but if a parent cares enough to agonize over them, they are blessed. Why do we agonize? Because we are responsible for those decisions we make. No one else. It’s all us, baby.
I think this parenting thing comes down to one major thing. Oh there are tons of minor things, but it comes down to this one major thing. God planned who your kid’s parents were going to be from the foundation of the earth. He decided to give Matthew and me four beautiful children, four specific children. He didn’t give them to anyone else, and he was purposeful in that. So good or bad, they are ours, and in his way, he will work his will and his way with those four people through their lives with Matthew and me. All the decisions we make on their behalf will shape them and mold them. Bad decisions will make them grow stronger, and good ones will bless them, too.
As I write this, two of my teenaged kids are in Honduras on a life changing mission trip. They are trying to help change a generation in Honduras with the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can check out what they are doing by going to www.1nation1day.com. They are chaperoned by armed guards wherever they go, for Honduras is one of the most violent countries on earth. How about that for a decision to make? Lets send our kids into danger. Lots of parents would not have made that same decision for their kids. In fact, only sixty other sets of parents from our church of 20,000 did. As I hugged my eighteen-year-old son goodbye, I told him to be safe, and then I told him to have an adventure! From all the reports I am getting back, he is! And my daughter, too.
I think the best thing you can do for your child is to lead them into a life of adventure. Playing it safe is not really what we are called to as Christians. We are called to make a difference. So in all of the decisions we make as parents, let us lead our kids into lives of adventure for the Kingdom of God. Let them step out of their comfort zone to follow the One who made them. They are ours, but only for a while. They learn to follow us so one day they can follow Him!