Before I was married, before I had children, one question repeatedly filled my mind: Is it possible to raise a family of godly children who don’t rebel? It certainly looked impossible in my world. The church of my childhood was filled with families of at least 3 but not more than 6 children who were committed to attending Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night services. But even with the emphasis on church and faith, most of these families had one or more children who walked away from the church--and from God. It was the same in the church I attended during college and again repeated in the church we attended as newlyweds. There were less than a handful of exceptions, but these families gave me hope.
I want to be that family for you. I want to bring you hope that you can raise children to be adults who love and serve God wholeheartedly. Our family is far from perfect. We can be kind and loving but sometimes we get angry and we speak unkindly to one another; we are generally respectful but other times quite selfish. But we are forgiven and redeemed and, most of all, we love God. All six of us. As I write this, our daughters are ages 15-22 and they are in love with their Lord and Savior. They love, obey, and serve Him, not out of duty but out of love. Thankfully, none of them have ever walked away from God. Yes, they have been challenged and some have surely questioned their faith. But each has a relationship with their Heavenly Father that is vibrant and alive.
My husband and I can’t take credit. Yes, we may have done some things right, but you know that my list of things I’d change is a mile long. We did not cause our children to become Christians, but the grace of God helped my husband and I create the best greenhouse garden so we could to grow the seeds we were given. We were intentional and thoughtful about how to grow these precious seeds into blossoms of beauty. We carefully chose the soil where our prodigy established roots. We supplied healthy food and nutrients avoided dangerous parasites so these seeds could grow strong. We controlled the climate until they were strong enough to survive in the world. And always we directed them to the Son who is the author and finisher of our faith.
Please don’t hear that I think I have a formula for raising perfect children that will not rebel. Children grow to be young adults with their own ideas and the ability to make their own decisions. While we as parents do have great influence in the lives of our children, we do not have complete control over their choices and cannot take complete responsibility for their actions. If you are praying for your prodigal son or daughter to return home, don’t judge yourself. Keep praying and don’t give up. God’s heart is that all will come to relationship with Him. I’ve seen plenty of examples of lost ones who turn their lives around and never look back. If you’re waiting for the day, I’m praying with you that it will come soon.
Your circle of friends may not include a family who has raised godly children into adulthood, but those families do exist! You are not alone. Don’t accept the world’s idea that there’s a “black sheep” in every family. It is God’s heart that families adore Him together. God has given you this heart-felt passion to raise godly children and He will walk you through, every step of the way.
With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)