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July 26, 2018 Daily Devotion from Vernon UMC

Devotional at Vernon UMC

Parenting Struggling Children

26 JUL 2018

"...Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock..."
~ 1 Peter 5:2

Raising children shapes the parent every bit as much as parents shape their children. Raising children is a sacred calling—and not for the faint of heart. And boy do I know all to well, being a father of 3 kids, soon to inherit 3 adult step children this October.

Parenting is probably the most important job many of us face. Some days, it's also the most difficult. It never lets up. A parent is on call 24/7, requiring unending self-sacrifice, wisdom, love, patience, perseverance, and much more.

I want to talk today to the parents of teens and young adults who are in the deepest trenches, absolutely battling for their children's loyalty or health or even their lives. First, you are not alone. Hear that. Parenting troubled teens often involves silent suffering, which can trick you into thinking you are isolated. An easy target for judgment or shame, so many families in crisis struggle alone, afraid or embarrassed or just too damn exhausted to reach out. Society expects three-year-olds to act like lunatics, but we don't know what to do with a teen/young adult who cuts or abuses or destroys or hates herself.

Because we are a people who like to blame, so often parents get the side eye: What did you do wrong? What didn't you do right? What could you have done differently? The truth is, teenagers are whole human beings and they get to choose their steps. So many troubled teens are beloved, they come from good families, they were rocked and read to and cheered for. There is no parenting formula that ensures any child's path. Families in crisis don't need a jury of their peers; they need a community of support. A parent can virtually do everything right and their child can still disappear. What's more, a parent can virtually engage every good intervention, and their child may stay gone.

Parenting is demanding and difficult, but the Lord is with us. If we humble ourselves instead of trying to appear perfect, we will find that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). For every parent out there, you have loved well and labored mightily regardless. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Father I pray for purity both for my kids and for their future spouses. Their spouses are out there somewhere, growing up as children right now, and what happens in their lives will greatly affect the life of my children down the road.

Above all, I pray that my kids will develop strong relationships with you, Lord. I also pray for healthy relationships with their siblings, with friends, and with my spouse/significant other and I as their parents.

The world is a dangerous place in many ways. I pray for physical, spiritual and emotional protection for each child.

Every child has their own struggles, whether it’s lying, angry outbursts, disrespect, or any number of other issues. I pray, Lord that you will shape their character and turn their weaknesses to strengths.

In the Name of Jesus,

Be encouraged and stay strong; be blessed and be a blessing to others.
Peace, Love & Joy

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