In some ways, raising kids is an immersion into the divine. I don’t know about you, but the first thought that comes to my mind when I see pictures of a new little human being formed is miraculous. The second thought that comes to mind is Psalm 139:13; “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” To experience life and birth is to experience the miraculous, the divine.
And once you know that this child you’ve been given is part of the divine, there comes a sense of immense responsibility. You haven’t been given a thing, an object, to take care of or money to steward; you’ve been given a human being, a soul, to love and cherish and nurture. As Psalm 139 also says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
But when that child is new and small and malleable, the responsibility seems easier. After all, you’ve got some time to work into this parenting thing, this “raising them up in the Lord” thing. By the time that child hits adolescence, as a parent, you realize how quickly you’re running out of time.
The book of Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” You are in the season of adolescent parenting; it’s a season that’s here for only a short amount of time, with an expiration date. So why is it that just when you figure out the clock is winding down on your parenting years and time is short, it seems like it’s harder than ever to pass your faith on to your teenager?
As your teen moves from dependence on you to independence, you want to direct him or her to voluntarily choose both independence from you and dependence on God. And you want all this, preferably, before age eighteen so you can have just a small vision of it to rejoice over and hang on to when your teen is out of the house. Talk about pressure.
As I said earlier, parents in general have a lot to worry about where their kids are concerned. Christian parents have an added spiritual dimension of eternal proportions. The only way, I think, to be able to manage this pressure is to remember back to that feeling you had at your teen’s birth — with your recognition of the miraculous and the divine.
Be honest; you knew when you held that baby for the first time that you were out of your league. You still are. Your child’s life, including salvation, has always been in God’s hands; it was just easier to see it back then when your son or daughter was small and cuddly, without all that adolescent attitude and teenage hormones. That precious little soul is still in there, still incubating, still being woven together by God just as surely as sinew and muscle and bone.
The above is excerpted from Chapter 10 of my new book, The Stranger in Your House.