If you asked me if I would rather have my child be happy or if I would rather her to find her hope, peace, joy, well, her everything, in Christ, I would readily say the latter. However, when push comes to shove, the decisions get a little foggy. It’s easy to pray for our children to get whatever they want. It’s harder to let that go and pray that God would do a deep and constructive work in their heart.
My daughter has recently faced struggles in her friendships. Her heart has been heavy and tears have been shed quite a bit lately. My heart breaks with hers yet I am encouraged to hear her ask me to pray for her and to hear her say she has been praying about the situation herself. As painful as it is, her daily struggles have allowed us to have several conversations about Christ-likeness and what it looks like to truly love others more than ourselves.
Yet, in my own personal times of prayer I catch myself praying for her relationships to be healed, for her to make new friends, basically, for the problems to go away. Today I stopped praying that way. I still desire these things for her, but the Spirit led me to pray instead that God would use this hurtful experience as an opportunity to work in her heart, to point her toward Himself, and to teach her to find her hope in Him alone. Watching a child learn through suffering is hard. It would be much easier to hope and pray for her to receive whatever she wants, to pray for the problems to go away and for her to be my happy-go-lucky girl again. She’s only eleven, wouldn’t it be better to wait on these life lessons?
In my own spiritual journey I’ve learned from experience that finding my worth and joy in Christ is better.
It is better than BFFs and being in the “in crowd.” It’s better than the things that we think will make us happy. I know this to be true. If it is better for me, it is most definitely better for her as well. For the first time I recognize this truth, not just with my head, but with my heart and with my entire being.
Does it make the sadness I share with her disappear? No. Do I continue to hope that her relationships improve and she will find that one special friend she desperately desires? Absolutely. But while we wait, we look to Christ and seek to become more like Him. What a privilege it is to walk this spiritual journey with my child, to watch her mature in Christ, to see her learning to turn to Him and love others. I get to watch her learn to overcome evil with good and dwell in a place of joy and peace that is totally separate from her external circumstances.
No one ever said parenting would be easy. No one ever said discipleship would be easy. But the rewards are out of this world.
Copyright © Rebecca Onkar, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved