By Sarah Evans
One of the greatest challenges that we face as parents is realizing that we are unable to control every aspect of our children’s lives, especially as they get older. When our new babies come into the world, and we hold them for the first time in our arms, we are overwhelmed by feelings of love and protection. And certainly in the early years it is easier to keep them under our control and out of harm’s way, but it is not long before we are hit with the sudden realization that this will not always be entirely possible. There are so many things in this world that are out of our control. There are so many ways that our children can be influenced by both good and evil.
When we come to this place of understanding that we cannot control every aspect of our children’s lives, we are confronted with two choices: to live by faith or to live in fear.
Many of us as parents choose to live in fear, and are constantly worried about all of the potential dangers that surround our children. We anxiously try to ‘confine them in bubble wrap’ to keep them safe. Therefore, when our children want to become more and more independent and begin ‘spreading their wings’, we instantly say “no” to them, without even asking ourselves about God’s perspective. Our heart is filled with fear and it motivates our decision making, and there is no room left in our hearts for faith in God’s plan and provision. The sad reality is that when we do this, we are preventing our children from growing up and from learning how to handle all of the situations that life throws at them. By passing on our fears and anxieties to our children, we prevent them from exercising their own faith in God.
In order to live by faith, we must recognize that God gave our children to us as a gift, and so we must accept that they belong to God. They are on loan to us, by God, to raise them up into God-fearing, God-loving adults. And so when we really begin to understand this concept, we also begin to understand that God is in full control of our children’s lives. There may be times where we do not fully understand what He is doing, and there will be times where we feel like we want to take charge and do things our way, but it is important that we place our full trust in God.
God knows what is best for our children, even more than we do! Many of us have dreams and aspirations for our children, and they have influence in our everyday decisions. We choose to put them in ballet because we did not have the opportunity to do so ourselves, and it was always our own childhood dream.We drive our children in a particular direction, and into a certain career choice because we believe that it is the best thing for them. We make choices for our children without actually seeking God’s will for their lives.
If the desire is for our children to grow into the knowledge of Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, we must recognize the importance of teaching them to seek God’s will for their own life from an early age. In order to help them do this, we must lay down our own dreams and aspirations for our children, and regularly ask God about His perfect will for them.
Our mandate as a parent is to allow our children to grow up into ALL that they have been created to become. And so, this delicate process can be compared to that of holding a butterfly in our hands:
God has given us as parents a butterfly to hold in our hands, a butterfly to care for and to nurture. The butterfly is never intended to stay in our hands forever. The butterfly firstly and lastly belongs to its creator, and has been designed for the glory and the delight of its creator. The goal of the butterfly is to one day fly into its God-designed destiny. The job of the hands is to take care of it until it is ready to fly.
What would happen if every time the butterfly attempted to flutter its wings, in order for the wings to develop and get stronger in preparation for flight, that the hands would hold the wings and stop them from moving?
What would happen if the hands would begin to close in their attempt to hold onto the butterfly longer than necessarily intended?
The butterfly would be impeded from growing into all its fullness, and could even be potentially crushed or damaged at the hands of its care-taker. We must ensure as parents that we do everything necessary to enable the growth of our children, and not allow our own fears to become our children’s greatest stumbling block.
Our job as parents is to allow our children to grow up, and to let them flutter their wings of growth and maturity. We cannot permit our own fears and anxieties to stop this from happening. One day our children are supposed to fly out of our hands, and this is the way that God intended it to be.