As the mother of three, I have found myself many times asking God why it is that some children fare their teenage years much better than others. If you haven’t quite reached this season of life yet, you may be thinking ahead and have wondered the same.
Well, I don’t claim to know all the answers. But here’s one thing I have learned (and something I have touched on in past blogs)—as important as our training and influence is in the lives of our children, it isn’t the only determining factor in the path they will take.
It’s something I’ve needed reminders on. It’s easy to get discouraged as a parent when things don’t appear to be going the way you had hoped…or the way you see it going for others.
It’s also easy to get discouraged in your prayer life—thoughts of, “Why bother? It doesn’t even seem to work.” I’ve been there and I know other moms who have also been there.
You see, we don’t know why some children have to learn the hard way. Or the reasons behind their choices and decisions. But we do have to trust that God knows best. The path to a relationship with Him looks different for each person, so it is true for our sons and daughters.
The teenage years with my oldest, who is now serving in the Air Force, was about as effortless as you can imagine. He has turned into a remarkable young man, with integrity and a strong commitment to his faith and beliefs.
I could honestly count on one hand the number of times he back-talked me or gave me trouble. But I can’t take complete credit. Because then how do you explain the struggles I’ve encountered in raising my teenage daughter?
For whatever reason, her journey has been more difficult. Her decisions haven’t always been the ones I would prefer. But at the same time, when I look back on some of the struggles she’s gone through, I can see how many of those circumstances have already been used by God.
While it’s easy to get down on ourselves or perhaps judge the parenting skills of others—we have to remember that our own journey has been filled with less than pleasing moments. We’ve experienced our own treks around the same mountain time and again. And we have wandered off the path—perhaps for some it’s been more of a detour and for others they’ve completely lost their way. But no one walks this life in perfection.
So it helps me to realize that whatever path my children are taking, I can know they aren’t alone. God knows what it’s going to take to get them to their destination…so who am I to interfere?
This doesn’t mean I don’t offer encouragement and advice along the way. And it certainly doesn’t mean I stop praying. But it does mean that I trust more. Because we never know how God will use those difficult circumstances in our children’s lives to make them stronger in their walk with Him.
© 2013, Stephanie Romero