As parents, most of us have had to navigate rough waters with our children. For some of us, “rough” does not even begin to describe the situations we have faced (or are currently facing) with our children. Whether elementary age, tweens, teens, or adults, when our children struggle – we struggle. In a previous blog I argued that true love hurts: Jesus on the Christ, a woman in labor, a man breaking his back to provide for his family.
Some of our sons and daughters are bullied on a daily basis. Some of our sons and daughters are bullies. Some of our children are using and abusing drugs and alcohol. Many of our children are distributing drugs. A great number of our children are delinquent and truant at school, are disrespectful and unruly with teachers and other adults, and barely listen at home. Too many of our children are lazy, spoiled, ungrateful, and entitled. Unfortunately, a great number of our children struggle with mental health issues – some diagnosed and treated, and sadly, many more not.
The above issues (and many more) often create a large, tumultuous gulf between parent/care-giver and child. How do I reach her? Why won’t he listen? Where did I fail? Will he end up hurting himself or someone else? If only I would or could…
We are in a desert with our children. The situation is desolate, unbearably hot, and barren. If only we could cross the gulf, the chasm, the sea of madness, we would arrive at a place of promise, hope, and restoration. What do we do? All too often, we jump into the sea and we do “whatever it takes” to fix our children. We buy them stuff. We hit them. We shame them. We ignore them. We enable them. Sink or swim, we will die trying to fix them. When nothing works, we lose heart. And that is understandable, because the best of us get weary. We simply come to our wit’s end. We no more want to suffer in the desert than we want to drown in the seas.
Take heart, dear parent. If you but have faith – you only need a teeny tiny bit, you will witness a miracle. You see, with faith, God will part that sea for you and your beloved son or daughter. He will bring you through on the other side.
Make no mistake, there will be some traveling to do on the other side of the sea, but you will BE on the other side. You and your child will be able to confidently and securely navigate the journey ahead, because you will have benefitted from God’s grace and deliverance. You will know that the impossible for you is easy-peasy for God. The key is that each of you must cross the parted sea – you can’t cross for your child. Both must want to be on the other side. Prayerfully both parent and child have a desire to cross to better land, so that neither will perish. When you come to those raging waters with your child, please don’t believe that you have to sink or swim…instead trust and believe in the One who calms the waves, parts the seas, and walks on the troubles waters.