When the children reached the age of fourteen, they were told that from then on they were responsible to the Lord for their lives. "And don't ever think you'll get by with something because we don't know about it," their mother told them. "God knows, and has His own way of punishing." (Shadow of the Almighty a quote from Jim Elliot's mother)
Releasing our children is like trusting a parachute!!
When our children are little, any responsible Christian mom looks after them both physically and spiritually. As our children become young adults it can be difficult at best to release them for two reasons:
- As mothers we have become accustomed to watching over them.
- They certainly STILL need guidance!!
I am sure that if you were to ask any of my seven children, they would tell you, "Oh yeah!! Mom has trouble letting go!!" I have learned many things and the most important lesson has been releasing them. I want my children to be godly and to walk closely with the Lord. That is a passion of mine.
Mothers often tell their children they have 'eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head.' If the truth be known, we need more than two sets of eyes in raising our children because there is no way we can see everything they do, especially as they get older. We need to trust the Holy Spirit to work in our children's lives and we need to teach them that the Lord sees everything they ever do.
When two of my children were about 5 and 7, I was visiting in my kitchen with a sweet friend. My children went off into the backyard with a 'picnic.' I could see the backyard and into the woods on our acre. They crossed through the barbed-wire fence and walked out into the field to sit under a tree for their 'picnic.' There was a pond directly in back of our property, so the field was definitely off limits!!
These were wise words of Jim Elliot's mother that I wished I read a few years back. Thinking through these words would perhaps calm our mother's heart and anxieties knowing how much God cares for our children. I don't think this means to let up on all boundaries we might have for our young people, but it might help to temper our hearts as mothers so we don't stand in God's way.
Too many times I have stood in the way, which would hold the growth of my children back. It is good for them to know that I trust them. It actually helps them to mature.
Right now I am treading on new ground as my youngest two start working more steady (real) jobs, driving, college for one, and needing to not be mothered (smothered?!) with all my love.
Maybe your children are still little and this stage seems far off. I think it is a good idea to think about how you will mother your children as they grow. After all, children are eleven, twelve, or seventeen before you blink an eye!!
Releasing children like Mrs. Elliot did, having laid a godly foundation in their lives for years is wise. You can do better than me, if you look ahead and plan to release your children to the wise parenting that God provides. In the case of two prodigal children who have chosen a horrible path to live in life, God can be trusted much more than any mother's loving care. Yes, God may have to 'punish' them, bringing them to the ends of themselves before coming to repentance in a forgiving, loving, and merciful God. God can be trusted.
Here is a verse that has been a wonderful promise to me. I noticed recently that it doesn't promise that our children WILL walk in truth, but if they do, I have no greater joy!! This verse also doesn't promise that joy only comes if our children 'walk in truth.' I am learning to have joy because 'I walk in truth.'
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous:
and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
What do you think of the quote from "Shadow of the Almighty" by Elizabeth Elliot?