Friday, February 1, 2008

From My Heart...

Disillusioned. Disenchanted. Disappointed. Recently, my mind has been restless and fraught with concern in regards to developing young adults. Most young people put confidence in older adults they respect. If one of these older adults commit any action that the young person would deem unethical, deceitful, or immoral, there is a sudden loss of respect and a door of disillusion can open. This has caused me to have some serious discussions with my 21 year old son. He has lived a relatively sheltered life, has never been in any trouble (not even a speeding violation), and, as most would say, a "good kid." He is very grounded in his beliefs but I want to reinforce his foundation. Now, as he seeks to follow the path God is carving for him, I want him to realize humans fail. The majority of people are good, but when one of those "good" people cause disappointment, don't become disillusioned. Know without a doubt what you believe and live your convictions. Walking through the door of disillusion will fog focus and direction. I don't want my son to be sheltered from hypocrites, but rather understand the world has many hypocritical people and how to respond. A cynical view does not help, but learn forgiveness, good ethics, honesty, strength and endurance.
Hopefully I have not been misinterpreted in a negative light but, sheltering our children too much prevents them from learning how to deal with life. Life can be tough, but I, or my children, can be tougher. Pain is inevitable. It happens. When it happens, remember this -
If you have the ability to hurt, you also have the ability to heal.

19 comments:

  1. I just commented on this very topic to my closest friend yesterday. The harder the fight, the greater the victory. Kudos to a mom who lends this insight to her son. Great post...

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  2. Jana,
    This is so true. I have found that if our "kids" fall in love with Jesus and He is their best friend, it really doesn't matter what everyone else does. I know that may sound a little cliched but it really is true. Jesus is the best friend and He will never disappoint us or our kids. Yes, there are some folks who are hateful, hypocrites, two-faced, etc. but for every 1 like that there is at least 2 who are true blue. I know you and me have found that to be true. We just pray that our off-spring will find the same to be true. Please let Bryce know he is in my prayers. Really! God has His hand on him and he can do whatever the Lord has called him to do.
    Love you and your family!

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  3. Vonney - thanks for dropping by my blog. You are young and have great opportunity to teach your little ones about life. I'm sure you will do a great job.
    I hope things are progressing on your loft repairs. After 8 months of work, we are now officially finished with repairs on our house. The big task now is unpacking the many boxes still in storage. UGH!

    Ronda - Our mother instinct is to protect our children from any hurt, but reality is they need to be exposed to the real world to learn how to handle the bumps in the road. Thanks for praying for my children and I will pray for yours. They can never have too much prayer. With God's grace, our kids are great Christians and working for the kingdom. I don't ever want that to change because of unethical or hypocrital people that fog their vision.

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  4. Oh the joys of "growing up"! In caring for our children and sheltering them as much as possible, there comes a time we must let them spread their wings and fly! When they first start jumping off the limb into a greater, fuller, exciting life there can be some obstacles that come their way and they often come in the form of people. But, because of the firm foundation they have been given they can become stronger than they've ever been. If it wasn't for the "good times" we wouldn't be able to go through the "bad times". When we're going through the "bad or trying times" in our life we can look back and say, "Things will not always be this bad, because I know from the past that I will see the sunshine again." I can hear wringing in my ears this very moment, "Linda, keep your eyes on Jesus!" And I answer..."Ok, Daddy, I will keep Him on the pedestal of my heart and not someone else." I still pray for my sons and their wives, and our granddaughters that nothing or no one will be able to come along and have so much impact on them, that if that person were to disappoint them, they would be able to live for God through it all! Bryce and all the young men and women, who are finding out what "real life is all about", are going to make it! I have faith in him and the training you have put into him.

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  5. Linda - thanks for your comment. I could almost hear your daddy encouraging you. Some people have expressed concern for the "church of tomorrow" because they think the youth are straying away. I have always argued that because the youth Brian and I have worked with are wonderful Christians. Recently, I had a PK express some concerns and disappointment they felt about certain ministers behavior. After encouraging this young person, my heart became troubled wondering how many other young people were feeling the same way. We can't pray too much for our youth.

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  6. There is a time for every purpose under heaven,including a time to let go of our grown children. If we have done our best, we have done what we could (which isn't everything). Because we are human, it never is. Then we have to live our own lives and allow our children to live theirs. What hurts us so is knowing they will have to learn from their mistakes (as we did) and that we cannot spare them the pain. We can prepare to give advice to our grown children, when they ask (which they will do), if we meddle less in their choices (even if we think they are bad). Grown children listen more to parents who listen to them and talk less. After a while, they see unsolicited parental advice for what it is. That's when we need to take our prayer lives to another level.

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  7. Helen - At some point, parents must become less parent and more friend. You are right we must let go and take our prayer to another level. My greatest concern is particularly within the church. I don't want the shortcomings of so-called christians who were at a time greatly respected disillusion the younger generation to a point the younger generation walks away from God. That is the reason the young person must find his own way in establishing a personal relationship with God. Pray, pray, pray - that is what I must do.

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  8. Jana, Don't confuse walking away from the church (as we know it) with walking away from God.

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  9. Your words ring so true. Sometimes at 68 I get disillusioned, disappointed, etc., in the actions of someone who I held in high esteem. How much harder it is for a young person to understand the actions of one they trusted and loved because they are still pure and have not been driven by life. You are to be commended Jana, for God has given you insight into the needs of your children and other youth. Your words will strengthen your son's heart, and because you didn't hide it under the closet but speak of it, he will honor and respect you all the more. Love you.

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  10. Sis Jana, I love you guys SO much! I have no idea what situation you guys have faced, but I love you so much. I've faced this before, as every teenager or young adult does sooner or later. I know my parents have protected me and sheltered me from many things and I'm so thankful for that! God has also let me see adults fail, and those teenage years can be so crazy...I have found that Jesus gives us compassion though, and I've learned from others mistakes. It gave me strength, to actually feel the pain of disappointment and to deal with it.
    I really wonder sometimes HOW people who don't have God can deal with life!!! Seems like it would be totally impossible! Thank goodness we can lean on Jesus!

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  11. Jana, great post and much can be said along these lines as we talked about today over P.F. Changs. But in the end those of us who are in ministry (especially pastors) have got to help our children understand that no matter what people may say or do...in the end Jesus is still the friend that sticks closer than a brother and He will never do them wrong.

    Having been raised in the home of a pastor, I have always had a special place in my heart for PK's and I think there is just a little something special about them (call it anointing, gifting, sensitivity or whatever) whether they continue on in ministry or not and I think it is because of this divine tension of being exposed at a heightened extent to both the good and evil of people and the power of good and evil in the spirit realm while still being children.

    No matter how hard we try to shelter our children they will be exposed to people, things, situations that most other children will never experience at all or if they do not to the same extent.

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  12. Helen - thanks for bringing attention to my previous comment. I did state, "...disillusion the younger generation to a point the younger generation walks away from God." When I used the term "within the church," that was to signify spiritual life. Maybe that was a poor choice of term. I just didn't want to confuse my post with someone thinking walking away from a job, or family, etc. There is a big difference between God and the church which I realize. If they make a choice to leave a church, a job, or even family, it could be disappointing but not to the degree of disappointment I would feel if they walked away from God. Thanks for your point.

    Karen - I want to be a good parent and realize there are many challenges and I will make mistakes. I just pray any mistake I make will be insignificant to my children's salvation. I want them to love God more than anything else.

    Janell - I don't want any young person to become disillusioned and give up their relationship with God. We live in a real world, with real problems, with good and bad people. Bad people are not the majority. Sometimes, if a young person has been disappointed by several "good" people, they can begin to believe everyone is bad and choose to leave it all. I want young people to develop a relationship with God based on their own conviction and belief. That is the only way you can persevere through disappointment. Know Jesus.

    Mark - it is true PK's sense so much. I pray they stay next to the friend that sticks closer than a brother.

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  13. I spoke to a pastor about this topic just this weekend at our men's retreat. I have had to help many youth through the troubling circumstances in life that cause some people to walk away from God.

    I have always pointed them to Jesus and that he will stick with them closer than a brother.

    Thankfully they come back later when they are walking a less troublesome path and thank me for the advice and time spent with them.

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  14. I think this is something that we all are thinking about right now. The disappointments that come. My oldest daughter and her husband
    (20 & 23 yrs)have been dealing with this presently, but as someone else said, being in love with Jesus and not individuals makes all the difference. They may no understand completely, and the personal questions and hurt is still there, but I think these things also help build their character! They will remember to keep their own reputations a sterling example that they would not let someone down themselves in the future. Thanks for you thought provoking posts! In the name of Jesus, someday, we will see our own children praying and caring for their children and raising them to have a "Christ like" life. We remind Misti of compassion in times like this. That the enemy can destroy anyone and he delights in those who will cause the most confusion in the minds of God's children! We love you and your family! We are in this journey together!

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  15. Kevin - thanks for your comment. I always enjoy what you have to say. You and Bro. Pryor both stated Jesus sticks closer than a brother. I really think the youth we are dealing with, for the most part, understand God is there and love Him in return. What these young people must understand, is don't judge God, the ministry, or the church, based on someone's failure. God, the ministry, nor the church caused this person to behave unethically, immorally, etc.

    Susan - no matter what we go through, our lives are in His hands. He will carry us when we don't have the strength to walk. I love you.

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  16. Jana:

    What a beautiful post! There's so much we want to impart to our children in the way of walking close to God, no matter what comes their way, living a godly life, etc. I know I tended to shelter our son. I didn't want him hurt. I didn't want him polluted by the world. We put him in Christian school when he reached 7th grade in the hopes that he would be sheltered from the world's influence. But there came a time when we had to pull him from that school. He was failing in every course except P.E. We could not afford it. We put him in a public high school. Every day I cringed in my spirit when I dropped him off. We did a lot of praying for him during the next 2 years. But God had His hand on our son, and he even drew closer to God from this otherwise unpleasant experience, and gave his heart to God at age 17. He has never been the same since. He learned his lesson, and was able to go back to Christian school and graduate from there. As a parent, you never stop being concerned about your kids...even when they're grown. Many have told us we did a good job raising our son, and I give God the glory. But I still sometimes wonder if I missed anything in his training, and what giants he will face down the road. Did we equip him well enough. Were we lacking in any areas? I guess you can't fight all your kids' battles. They have to learn to fly on their own, just like the eagles. But we can always pray for them and love and support them. Thank you for sharing.
    Love, Karen

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  17. Karen - it was nice to hear from you. Parenting is not easy and much is learned from trial and error. We always want the best for our children and finding the fine line of shelter/freedom is difficult. We can only do our best and pray God makes up for any of our shortcomings. Knowing you, I would join those that say you are a good parent. I/we can do all things through Christ.

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  18. I needed this this week. Thanks. :)

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  19. Weston - it has been a long week. Hang in there.

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