All of my children have a story unique to them. Each of them came to us with a story only God could have written.
In one case, there were particular words spoken...words of promise and hope. A glimpse of God's plan for that child. In the case of others there were tangible, measurable miraculous interventions of the Lord. In all of them, He was near and walked the journey to becoming family with us more closely than we could have ever imagined.
And, much like Mary, I treasured these things in my heart. (Luke 2:19) Throughout the years I have gathered stones of remembrance as God proved himself faithful over and over.
Much time has passed and motherhood looks very different to me now. Instead of diapers, formula, sleep issues, tantrums and potty training, my conversations and questions focus on character issues, building relationships, healing wounded hearts, the onslaught of media in the lives of my children, and navigating what it looks like to walk with God as a young person in 2013.
I now realize the toddler years were piece of cake.
As I monitor my big kids' Instagram accounts and check in unannounced while they "chat" with friends, worry rears it's ugly head. I could throw out the computer, but the problem is more widespread than that. Just think about it. How in the world does a young man keep his heart pure when the simple act of driving down the road introduces him to the equivalent of soft porn? How does a young woman see herself the way her Heavenly Father sees her when airbrushed plastic images of women are on every newsstand? Is it really possible to protect them, to shelter them from the evil storm that rages around them?
The world around us will tell us NO. "They" will tell us not to expect too much, that most kids are basically incapable of true maturity or spiritual depth until they have "sown their wild oats." They will tell us not to waste our time raising kids according to "archaic" standards of purity and holiness. They will tell us to expect the worst and buckle our seatbelts for a rough ride.
Ah, but God.
God is not archaic. He is relevant, real, present, and will always hold the answers we seek as we raise our kids. God, the perfect parent whose children have all rebelled, understands the necessity of looking ahead and seeing the end from the beginning. Isn't that exactly what He did when Adam and Eve disobeyed? He already had a rescue plan in place. The wheels had already been set in motion that would usher in the Son of God, the messiah, the One who would make all things new.
So when I worry about my kids growing up in this dark world, I pick up a stone of remembrance and remind myself that they are HIS. Each of my babies has placed their faith in Jesus at a young age, just as I prayed they would from the time they were born. They are safe, eternally safe, in His hand. He sees the end from the beginning and He knows exactly what they must endure, what they must experience in order to become who He created them to be.
I pick up a stone of remembrance and trust the One who came through for me time and time again to do exactly the same for them.
In 1 John 2:12-14 John speaks to God's people. He speaks to them, to who they are, to who He wants them to be...
I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him
who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Do you see it? Do you see what God is doing? I can pray for my children using these very words! I can tell the Lord that I KNOW my childrens' sins (past, present and future) are forgiven. I can calm my anxious heart because my babies know him who is from the beginning. I can pray in faith that they have and will continue to overcome the evil one.
I can remind my babes that they are strong and pray for the strength to be made manifest in their lives.
For, the truth is, the word of God abides in them and they have overcome the evil one...because of that very Word made Flesh, because of the death of Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection!
Oh, sisters, we must remember this. We must remember God's promises regarding our children and hold fast to them through the storm. We must pray in faith, knowing who God is and trusting what He says. We must look into the face of an angry child and speak WHO THEY ARE, who GOD says they are, who we choose to believe they will become.
It is no accident that we are the parents chosen by God for these very children.
He knew and equipped us to do this work in His strength, never our own.
He knew and we must know that He is the author and finisher of not only our faith, but theirs as well.
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Cor. 4:5-7)
Yes, not to us, but to HIM will be the glory as our children grow into adulthood and we watch the Lord do what He does best in their lives. I will continue to gather the stones, keeping them near when fear threatens my heart and worry steals my joy.