Greetings from Nashville! God has turned up the thermostat here in Nashville and it has been steamy with temperatures in the 100’s. We are soooooo thankful for air conditioning, electricity and all the things that make us comfortable when it is this warm. We hope you are staying cool wherever you are! We continue to stay busy with physical therapy appointments for Larry (we praise God for every bit of progress), doing the COFFEE & CONNECT LIVE program, taking care of our office to do’s and keeping up with texts, phone calls and letters. We are thankful for every day that we have together and are able to serve the Lord together fulfilling the calling He has on our lives!
As Father’s Day approaches, we can’t help but think about our kids, our parenting experiences and all the letters, texts, and calls we have received from parents that are hurting, wounded, unsure, and broken. We want everything to be perfect in our families, but the reality is we live in an imperfect world and things don’t always go how we desire them to. What do we do when that is the case?
We shared the article below in our monthly newsletter. We pray that it gives you some HOPE where you are right now as a parent, grandparent or even great grandparent as we are now. Don’t give up! Keep praying and believing for your family! We also shared on this topic on our most recent CCLIVE….click here to view that.
I would suppose the yearning of every parent is to raise a perfect child: physically strong, emotionally stable, intelligently gifted and a spiritual giant for others to admire. A child that is, above all: loyal, honest, sincere, ambitious, motivated, an up-and-aspiring young man or woman who will make all the right decisions and choices, and who will take the world by the tail and win in every situation and circumstance.
WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD! To begin with, let us confirm that “we” are not a perfect family. We have problems and face disappointments just like any other family. As of yet, we have not met a parent that could honestly verify all of the above in their children. Why? Because children are human; they are not perfect, trouble-free, carefully-programmed robots. Almost every day Christian parents tearfully acknowledge, “We’ve tried so hard to raise and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. But still, after all of this, some of our children have strayed into sin. Why? We just don’t understand.” Why the problems? Because children are born with a “free” will. From the onset of the first whimper or cry, they are expressing their will. Then as the years pass by and they age, their environment, culture, and morals play an integral part in shaping their will. While all of this is happening, we, as Christian parents, do the best we know how to instill God’s Word, His principles, and a life of godliness within them through Bible-reading, prayer, Sunday school, church, special events and family devotions. Somehow even amidst all the spiritual investment in our children, some still stray away from God for a season. The most heart-wrenching pain a parent can experience is to see their son or daughter fall into rebellion, turn against God and wander into sin. The parents’ minds are then bombarded with, “Why? How could this have happened? Whose fault is it? Who is to blame?”
Please allow us to share some of our observations, facts, feelings, and advice with you that we have learned over the years.
Don’t dwell on the blame game. It’s tempting and dangerous for one parent to toss the blame on the other parent. Avoid it at all costs! Channel your energies toward restoring the prodigal, rather than destroying the marriage relationship. Luke 11:17 says, “A house divided against itself will fall.” Agree to re-evaluate. Look at your past mistakes and learn from them. Determine to pull together as a couple and fight the spiritual battle, not each other.
Forgive yourself and each other for the mistakes you have both made in child rearing. Can we just say that there is only ONE perfect parent—God the Father—none of us have parented perfectly, so lay aside your egos and pride, and ask God to forgive you. Then go one step further: ask forgiveness of your prodigal for anything you did or said as a parent that caused him/her to stray. We’ve had to go to our children many times to ask forgiveness.
Realize your child has a will! It’s inevitable that someday our children will have to exercise their own will and make their own choices and decisions. Whether right or wrong, they will be responsible for that choice, and have to live with it and learn from it—whatever the consequences. A part of growing up is falling down. As parents, what should we do? We shouldn’t try to break their will, but try to bend the will. A will that is broken is a useless will, but the bending of one is directing it into the right channel with a purpose and goal.
Whatever you do, never reject or alienate them from the family. Resentment will keep them from ever coming back home. You are their parents, not just until they are eighteen, but for all eternity. When they come to their senses, they’ll need a refuge to retreat to, and a family to love and guide them down the right path.
Love your prodigal unconditionally. That’s hard, especially for a Christian parent whose principles and values have been willfully rejected and they have turned against all you believe and stand for. Nevertheless—LOVE THEM! No matter how tough it gets out there, they need to know they are loved. Tell them you love them. But, also express to them that you are hurt by their disobedience to God and you, their parents. It’s okay to let them know you hurt…YOU ARE FAMILY.
Pray—pray— and pray like you never have before. You may have many, many sleepless nights ahead of you, so use those anxious, hurting hours and moments to pray for your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Let them know you are praying day and night for them. You may have to invest in a pair of football-player kneepads for all the hours you’ll spend on your knees before God.
Give your children to God! Give God freedom to work in their lives as He chooses. That’s hard! This helps lift that unbearable pain and burden. Psalm 68:19 says, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
Believe that God is able. He is able to return to you what Satan has stolen. Even if you don’t see it, pray in the fourth dimension. See them serving God. See them loving God. Romans 4:17 says: “The God who give life to the dead, and calls things that are not as though they were.” Begin to call those things in their lives “that are not—as though they were.” Be encouraged. God is able!
Lastly, begin to praise God for what He is going to do. Psalm 92:1 says, “It is good to praise the Lord…” Proclaim God’s love in the morning and His faithfulness at night! Trust and praise Him until your victory comes.”
Take dad out to the lake and make him this taco salad to enjoy for lunch!
Summer Taco Salad
3 Flour Tortillas
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
1 pound Hamburger
4 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Head Iceberg Lettuce
Cherry Tomatoes - Halved
Black Olives - pitted and sliced
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Salsa
1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Dried Ranch Seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tortillas into thin strips. Toss with oil then transfer to baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes, toss half way through. Brown the ground beef. Add taco season and water to taco season and summer until the water evaporates and turns into a saucy consistency. For the dressing mix sour cream, taco seasoning, and ranch seasoning. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to get desired consistency. For the salda mix lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, taco meat and tortilla strips. Mix in salad dressing and serve immediately.