Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, September 19, 2011

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.3John1:4

Christian parents have it tough.  We don't just want to raise decent, moral, caring human beings; we want to raise Christ lovers who will pick up their cross & follow after Him who has called them by name.
To that end we pray for our children, with our children & about our children.  We take them to Sunday school & to church.  We send them to bible camp & youth group.  We teach them memory verses & catechism questions, the standard creeds of the faith.  We say grace at meals, bedtime prayers, family devotions.  We talk with them about the things of Christ ~ all of this in the hope that it will be enough, that somehow they will love where we love & that God will become vibrant & real to them.  I've lost track of the grief & heartache I've witnessed as the children of Christian parents reach maturity, turn their backs on the faith & walk away from everything they've been taught.  It is devestating.
I have been both the child who walked away & the parent who grieved & I have done a lot of thinking about this.  We do everything we can, everything we know.  We spend hours in our prayer closet in prayer & still we lose our children to the world at a phenomenal & ever growing rate.  We never even know we have a problem until it is too late because while they are young & under our roof, under our covenant, they are protected & biddable ~ then they reach their majority, move beyond our authority & the ugly truth is revealed.
Some of it is genetic.  Stubborn strong~willed parents are not going to produce gentle, pliable children ~ not as a rule.  Some of it is just the old sin nature at work.  Some of it is simply we have taught our children about Christ, rather than introducing them to Christ. Some of it is generational curses & some of it is downright spiritual warfare & even after all I've learnt I still get gaught by this one because I just never ever think we are that important!  In truth we're not but because we're Christ's Satan will happily use us to hurt the Father.  I know this. I have seen it in action over & over.  More devestatingly they have looked at us, looked at the church & gone Yuck!
Most of mine are big now.  We cover the spectrum from the full blown aethiest to the mission oriented.  I know the joy of discussing Christ with children who also know & love Him, who are walking in The Way, immersing themselves in the scriptures & over the years each has expressed the same concernes:
                                  The church is soft
Why doesn't the church teach on these things?
Where is the power of God?
How can I know God?
For each, as they have struggled for a mature faith, they have been apalled by the discrepency of what the scriptures teach as to how the church is.  I understand.  How can we, as the people of the Living God, sit through three hymns,  a short inercessory prayer & a 3 point sermon week after week & never once expect the Spirit of God to move through the congregation, ignite the people with His power & passion, set us alight?!
Dino, who has just come out of his first full on fast & touched the edges of walking close with God, once asked me, "But why didn't you talk to us about these things when we were growing up?"  Because I didn't know then!  No~one taught me.   As I have learnt, so have I shared.  I warn my children, " It will cost you everything."  I have passionate children.  They're not interested in half measures. 
 Now Dino is starting to understand just how difficult this all is.  A little tentatively, because it is all new & he is unsure, he came to me & said, " I didn't get anything...I just asked God to show me what it all means".   And then he added, "But we have to wait....the timing's not right".   I grinned at him.  You got something, I said.  That is what I have been getting.  The time's not right.  We are waiting on others also being ready.   There was a look of wonder in his eyes.  He'd heard from God! 
 And this is our starting point; children raised in such a way they can hear from God for themselves; hear from Him, recognise His voice & are prepared to act on His instructions.  Not church sitters.  Not pew warmers.  Not 3 hymns & a 3 point sermon people.  We are living in volatile times. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: It is not just pretty rhetoric.  It is a Living Truth.  May our children grow strong.  May the spirit of God be a fire in their bones & may the Living God consume them!


Ruby said...

remembering that "By grace you are saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." We cannot teach, cajole, threaten, home school, our children. We can give them a living witness and all we are able to convey but the work of salvation belongs to the Spirit.
Wonderful for you to have Dino crying out to the Lord. I am also rejoicing in one of my children though their faith is still a mustard seed. (Sorely affected by many of those things you mentioned...observing the behaviour of professing Christians and being repulsed) It is not until they profess faith themselves that they realise how far short we all fall.

Cute little widget counting down to Liddy's return. May the time fly for you and be filled with many wonderful events for both you and her.

The end!

Ruby said...

Was meant to read :We cannot teach, cajole, threaten, home school, our children into the Kingdom.

seekingmyLord said...

"Some of it is simply we have taught our children about Christ, rather than introducing them to Christ."

I think this is the core of the problem. I look around my little church of which the majority is my age with grown children. Where are their children? Not in our church. Not in ANY church. Not one, excluding the pastor's wife's children, perhaps, but they live far away, so I would not know.

I wonder why, but I believe I know why. Throwing children at church, VBS, and doing ritual prayers at meals thinking they will just "get it" does not work. Telling them that God made man, while man-made schools basically tell them that man also made God, does not work. But mostly it is because the parents really do not "share" their faith with their own children. It could be that they also are still growing into it themselves or they don't really have it or they don't know how to share it...I hear it is too private, too personal, all the time.

Children get taught many ways but they learn by what they see the most. I have mentioned to parents that instead of going into a room and closing the door to pray, leave the door open a bit. Invite them to take a peek. Also, openly pray and read the Bible in places where your children can see you. Let them wonder and see the awe of prayer when it is not led, asking for a blessing of the food, or asked of the congregation. Allow them to see how "personal" it is to have a relationship with the Lord.

I am thankful I homeschool but I also realize the weight of being the model by which my daughter will come to know her Lord. I will fall short but even through that she will learn that perfection is not expected by God, just trust and faith.

Still, Ganeida, you know that you could do everything right and have them fall away. It has to be their choice.

Ganeida said...

Ruby: Yes, I posted in a hurry but had in mind that we cannot harry our children into the kingdom. That is the work of the Spirit. Messy as it is I also know this struggle produces genuine faith because they have truely counted the cost. It is not habit, or social acceptance, or wishy~washy. God doesn't seem to mind messy ~ even bloody mindedness. It's lukewarmess He hates; the fence sitting, the uncommited. Can't do anything with that.

Seeking: I do think the core is that we teach about rather than introducing ~ & I still haven't got that one all worked out. I run in to people who want to argue doctrine with me all the time ~Doctrine! Me!And it's not about a set of beliefs that you can rattle off. It's about meeting with God & each of us has to find our own way of doing that. Including our children. We can teach them the *how tos* but they must each find their own way by the grace of God.

Sandra said...

Although I don't share your faith, I do feel your sincerity. We are sentient beings who will chose our own way. It is not necessarily a reflection upon the parent.

joyfulmum said...

Amen! and how exciting that your son is getting it!