I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject lately since my older children are getting, well—older. My oldest is 20 now and talking a lot about marriage. More on that next week. Anyway, they and their friends are starting to survey the landscape and figure out where they fit in this universe. Job? College? Marriage? Children?
The theme of this season of life for them? UNCERTAINTY.
Another theme? WAITING.
And I’m riddled with insecurities and uncertainty too. Parents spend all those years raising them for something. My dream for my children has always been (in this order):
- That they would really know God and have an intimate relationship with Him both here on earth and for all eternity.
- That they would really love and really trust Jesus.
- That they would really experience God’s deep love and involvement in their lives.
- That they would find a life partner who also experiences 1, 2, and 3—and that they would mutually share a deep love, appreciation, and commitment to and for one another.
- That they would find a life vocation that would not only provide for their needs but would be satisfying and bring glory to God.
I know. I’m asking for the world on a silver platter. But I can ask, right? And believe me, I have asked.
So there’s that. The asking.
And then there’s the talking with them about these dreams. I hope that some of what I’ve shared over the years will “stick” and bear fruit.
There’s a lot of talk in some circles these days about the fact that their older children are having a difficult time finding the spouse part. Since I’m not on the other side of this fence yet, still having 9 unmarried children, I can only share some thoughts from a forward-looking point of view rather than from a “hind-sight is 20/20″ perspective. But I’m never short on thoughts, so I give 10 of them to you, assuming you are interested or you wouldn’t be reading this blog in the first place.
Here they are, in no particular order:
- Our attitude toward marriage will affect our children’s attitude. This doesn’t mean that if we have a rock-star, perfectly healthy attitude to go along with our amazing marriages that our children absolutely WILL follow in our footsteps. Everyone is a sinner with choices to make, and unfortunately, most of us make some pretty bad ones throughout the course of our lives. Many of those bad choices are made when we are young and stupid. Our kids will very likely make some choices that make us cringe. God has a journey for them just as He has one for us.
- Even if our own marriages struggle, God can redeem the marriages of our children. He does that kind of stuff all the time, so it never hurts to ask Him if He’ll do that for our children.
- If we cloister ourselves away from people, our children won’t meet people. If our children don’t meet people, they won’t meet a future spouse for the simple reason that future spouses are people. God doesn’t always send a prince or princess up to our doorsteps inquiring about one of our kids. Can God do that? Of course. God can do anything. Does He do that? Not very often. Too many families are finding this out the hard way. God doesn’t have to do things the way we want Him to.
- Ergo—you may want to consider living somewhere where the young adults in your family can build relationships with other families and young adults. Find a church that preaches and worships in a way that resonates with you and your family—AND that has a number of young people. If there are no young people, why not prayerfully consider a different church?
- Our lives as parents are all about launching our children. When we made the choice to have them, we signed away our lives until they would be successfully launched. This will be inconvenient at times and will interfere with our own dreams. I dream of living out in the country. We came close last year, and then realized it just wasn’t our time yet. Since then I’ve been so thankful we didn’t. So many things have happened that may not have happened had we moved. I hope one day my dream will come true, but if it doesn’t, I know heaven will hold trees and fields and streams and horses for me to revel in to my heart’s content. With no bugs or poop. I will need to wait.
- If we over-communicate that sex or physical touch is sinful, sinful, SINFUL, our daughters may end up being frigid. We should communicate that it is sinful outside of marriage, but we should equally communicate the fact that it is a gift to be enjoyed immensely inside of marriage. I think this is a serious pendulum issue. I don’t have the answers, but it’s something I think about.
- Related to point 6: embrace romance. Romance in the right context is precious. Romance is from God. He is the Great Romancer. Romance is the summer of life. The coming of age. The unfolding of the bud to reveal the fullness of beauty. Maybe we should embrace it more, and teach our children to embrace it when it comes to them.
- I hate terms that mean different things to different people. When that happens, the terms are no longer helpful. Are “courting” and “dating” helpful? I wonder.
- I dislike rules and regulations that are applied in black and white ways all across the board with wagging tongues and wagging fingers on all sides. Every family is different. Every child is different. Every situation is different. Every opportunity is different. As the years roll by I’ve been learning to hold my tongue and fingers still. I’m still learning.
- Related to point 8: the world doesn’t revolve around me and my convictions. It doesn’t revolve around you and yours. It revolves around God and His plans. And I can almost all but guarantee that as soon as you think you have something all figured out and filed in the proper catalog, God will make sure something totally different comes rolling down the pike to broadside you and scatter your notes to the four ends of the earth.
I’ve used up my 10 thoughts. (I have to give myself a limit so I can get some work done around here.) There really is a reason I’ve been thinking of all this stuff lately. But I can’t tell you about that until next week.