Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fear Your Child Will Abandon Her Faith?

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You hear stories every day of prodigals. And if you're on the front end of a prodigal story, you're experiencing a believing mom’s greatest fear: that her child will deny or abandon the Christian faith. My friend Timm Glover (one of the smartest people I know!) says this is actually a healthy fear. “It is an appropriate fear,” he confirms, “because the number one goal of Christian parenting is to make citizens of Heaven. It is a realistic fear, given our liberal culture. Our entire society is geared away from Christian faith.”

My, oh my, you can say that again! Take a look at the world around you. The ads, entertainment, and celebrities. The books, magazines, and media. The clothes, fashions, and focus. It is hard to stay grounded. We must constantly be on guard for ourselves, and always in prayer for our children. What are some things you can do right now to help your child develop a firm foothold on her faith?

Family rituals are important. Habits can create distinct boundaries for a child. Whether it is church attendance, family devotional time, or the tradition of bedtime prayers, children thrive on routines and take great comfort in them. When the drama of growing up begins to manifest itself in your child’s life, habits are there to run toward. On the other hand, these rituals also provide a place for your child to assert his independence. Temper your response with patience and understanding when he wants to go against the flow.

Focus on your child. God has made your child uniquely. Help your child understand that God has particular gifts, talents, and abilities created within her makeup for the specific intent of bringing glory to Him. Do everything you can to help her develop those gifts and channel the fruit she bears in the right direction.

Hang on to hope. As parents, we must trust God when life begins to unfold. “The ‘Prodigal Son’ happens every day, in the best homes,” acknowledges Glover. “Parents cannot be paralyzed by that fear.” If you have a child who takes that prodigal turn, what do you do?

  • Maintain the relationship with your child to the best of your ability.
  • Make sure your own life is patterned after Christ.
  • Stay focused on Him through prayer and the reading of His Word.
  • Enlist prayer buddies who will keep you and your child on the top of their prayer list.
A fear-driven parent hides behind a fa├žade of control. A faith-driven parent rests beside a throne of grace. Peace only comes when we surrender our fears to God and place our confidence in Him. The parable of the Prodigal Son has a happy ending, so hang on to that! Sometimes there are certain trials that a child must go through in order to become the person God intends her to be.  

Rebecca
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