I'm not a parent (yet!) but I have led my fair share of students over the years. I remember one year in particular, I was chosen to lead this particularly hard group of girls in our high school ministry. They hated the church and God and every other leader but I was a new face so they didn't hate me yet and their parents made them come, so my leaders told me to give it my best shot. And let me tell you, those girls gave me a run for my money. At this point in my walk with Jesus, I hadn't experienced much. I was homeschooled, raised in the church, the kid on church leadership, etc. For these girls whose lives had been full of one hard thing after the other, with divorce and abuse and abandonment, I had no idea where to go with them. I remember driving home after my first night with them and weeping out loud to the Lord because I didn't know how to lead them and if I was being honest, how do I even love them well, too?
I think sometimes in my attempts to do it well and perfectly, I forget that that's never what God asks for.
All throughout Scripture, when God spoke and asked someone to obey, it was never about the result of the obedience, it was simply about the obedience.
I didn't know how to love or lead my girls, but what God asked of me was to show up. And so I did. I would show up week after week and I would apologize on behalf of the church and the Lord and the people who had hurt them so much. I would cry when they would tell me the stories because I couldn't imagine going through that. They would look at me funny because to them, it was just normal. it was their life.
Until one night, in classic me fashion, I was driving home crying and praying to the Lord and I said "I just don't know how to help my girls!" and I felt so strongly the Lord say "They're not yours. They're mine."
I cried harder because I had again, taken on more than God intended for me. My job was to be there with them, not take on responsibility for them. My job was to show up, not fix them. My job was to obey the Lord and be who HE created me to be, and HIS job was to change, grow, encourage, and LOVE them.
Sure, He uses me and it's one of my favorite things about the Lord - that He allows us to partner with Him. But also, He doesn't need me. He doesn't need you.
The thing about faith is that it's not generational. No matter how well I love the Lord, it will never overflow into the kids that I lead, or Lord willing - my actual kids someday!
God is never a grandparent. He's always the Father. He's never a generation apart but His presence is just as close to me as it is to the girl I led to the Lord.
And that simple truth removes the pressure. Those girls were never mine. They're His. Your kids aren't yours. They're His.
Your job is to show up and be who HE created you to be. And His job is all the rest.
I know that it's a very different story when you're the parent of the child, and that once I have my own kids I'll have a very different take on it, but for now, these are my thoughts.
God chose you as your children's parents. He looked through all of time and chose you and your kids to be together. You are the best mom or dad for their personality, their habits, their intelligence, their gifting. You were chosen for them. But that doesn't make them yours. Because just as you belong to God, so do your kids.
He loves them most, that's why He gave them you!
He loves them best, that's why He gave them you!
My professor in seminary says all the time that faith comes on the scene when the scene gets hard. I'm not sure where you are at today, or what you might be feeling toward God or your family or yourself! And I definitely don't want you to feel that I am oversimplifying some really hard situations, because believe me, I know that life is not nearly as black and white as I may have written it to be. But I also know that God is faithful and God is purposeful and God is sovereign. in all things, in all ways, in all people.
So my encouragement and my prayer for you, wherever or whoever you may be, is that you would embrace the childhood of being in God's family -- with all of the freedom and fun and peace that comes with it! And that you would be affirmed in God's intention and care with your life -- You are where you are for a reason and He sees you. He loves you! He chose you! I pray that you would continue to show up in all the intricate and unique and beautiful ways that God made you and that your eyes would be opened to the ways that God is showing up in your life, too!
Hi there! My name is Alicia and I am the Children's ministry intern. I'm currently studying biblical counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary and I am so passionate about helping to bridge the gap between theology and psychology! I love writing and tend to think in pictures and I'm praying that this can be a space where you can find grace and experience Jesus and feel less alone. Much love!! Xoxo, Alicia