Sunday, April 28, 2013
Stress comes in many shapes and sizes, situations and circumstances. Yet, I don't think there is a parent out there who won't agree that the largest stressor in our lives can come from our children. Yes, those beloved children that we waited to long to have - couldn't wait to see their precious faces - yes, those are the ones I am talking about.
As infants and growing up through the years, they provide us many opportunities to challenge our patience, through long nights of staying up, illnesses, those terrible twos (which, by the way, can run into threes, fours, and fives), etc. Then there is the first day of school, first heartaches, etc. All along the way, as a Christian parent, we are forced to make choices. Some may be good choices, some are more difficult. As mainstream America can challenge those choices, it becomes increasignly more difficult to stay to the foundations we might have deep in our hearts and souls.
I had my two girls, Sarah and Krystina, from my first marriage. The foundations that I tried to build there were hard, even back then. There was a no-TV day (which always ended up being a lot of fun), devotion every morning ending in prayer before school (not sure who felt better with that, me or them, as I knew they were being sent off with God), praying at night thanking God for three things that went right (with their homemade prayer beads), etc. Yes, I tried. Then life changed dramatically. I got Cancer, my Dad passed away, my marriage dissolved, and my faith was tested like never before. We continued to stick to the foundations we had built, as the man I know God brought me to, Juan, entered my life with his two children. Gabby and Christian
We had a plan - we would engage our two small families every other weekend in fun activities, but live our separate lives until all the children were out of high school (Christian, the youngest one, was about 5 at the time). Our children were (and still are) the most important part of our lives. So the life Juan and I wanted to have together would have to wait - and we were both VERY okay with that. Yet, it was OUR CHILDREN, who pushed us towards marriage. They wanted us to be a family, and so it was God's will. There was a lot of trust and faith in that decision - we truly knew God brought us together and trusted this was his choice. And the foundation continued. We continued with devotions, prayers, and blessing chains at Thanksgiving each year. As the children got older, well, life took hold. Life can challenge the best laid plans - and it certainly challenged ours.
Much of what we had planned for our Christian family got "rocked", by experiences, other children, etc. But we had a plan!! The world wouldn't "touch" them. Yet, it wasn't God's plan. We couldn't shelter our children's lives from everything and choices needed to be made. All four of them have made good choices and some not so good choices. And there have been incredible dark days as a parent. Yet, there are days when I am incredibly proud of their choices. I have also realized that, even as an adult, there are days I make better choices than others (like that incredibly calorie-filled breakfast I ate this morning over yogurt). What I have also realized more importantly, though, is that when I have trusted God and have called out to him in prayer during those dark days of parenting, he has heard my crys and has rescued - not just me - but our children. He has brought them out of the darkness and into the light. He has provided safety and peace. He will always answer us. Simple Faith - Prayer!!
"Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer." (NIV) Psalm 61:1