Each new school year gives our children the opportunity to make new friends, to learn new facts about the wondrous world that God created for us, and to discover how to submit to authority – which will help them as adults when they work for other people.
As our children enter college, they need to find their own way in the world. We are here for them if they need us, but they cannot live out our dreams for them. They choose their own major and make friends who appeal to them. At this stage in their life, parenting means letting go and letting God work in their life.
We yearn for them to follow the wisdom we shared with them over their years in our home, which we learned from our time of walking with the Lord. However, we cannot force them to believe in Jesus or to live according to the precepts in God’s Word.
When they choose their own path in the world, they may veer from the Biblical truths, which we taught them. This is heart-rending for parents, because we want to see our children receive God’s blessings for their life, rather than reaping the corruption that they may choose to pursue.
They stand or fall by the choices they make, as well as their selection of the type of people with whom they surround themselves. Their professors and other students have profound effects on their options as well as their beliefs. Our best route is to continually intercede for them at the throne of God.
Some of our children never stray from God’s path for them, while others almost run in the opposite direction. From the age of 15 to 25, the decisions they make will affect their future. They may carry the consequences of their choices for the rest of their life. They continually reap what they sow during these years in their life.
Some of our children may reject us personally along with our beliefs. When this happens, it is hard for us not to put salve on our emotional wounds by rejecting them in a similar manner. We did our best as parents, and no one can do better than our best.
Therefore, continuing to show them God’s unconditional, Agape love – even when they reject us, will remain as a lasting testimony to them that God never leaves them or forsakes them either (Hebrews 13:5). They may or may not ever notice our loyalty to them, but God’s Spirit will use this in many areas of our life.
God calls on us to let them go to make their own plans and to live according to their own convictions and worldview (Proverbs 16:8-9). If we take a stand and insist on “preaching” at them about their behavior, we will only widen the gap between us and them.
Leaving them in the palm of God’s hand, is the safest place they can abide. He can influence them or send other people to impact their life in His timing and way. They may also reject these servants of the Lord, but that is their choice to make.
If anyone is humble enough to leave our sinful lifestyle, call upon Jesus’ name for salvation, and live in the center of God’s will from that point on, we become part of His adopted family (John 3:16-18; Ephesians 1:5). “God has no grandchildren” (Reinhard Bonnke). Our children need to come to Christ of their own free will.
Scripture reminds us that when they are old, they may very well return to Biblical truth and submit their life to Christ (Proverbs 22:6). They will realize the importance of not relying on their own human understanding but learn to consult the Lord for His will for each moment of their life (Proverbs 3:5-6).
God always directs our steps and levels our path as we walk in His will (Proverbs 16:9; Colossians 1:10-14). Our children soon discover for themselves how to seek God’s face and to allow His eye to guide them through their decisions (1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 32:8). They learn to cling to Him during trials and to watch for His miracle that He plants in each one (James 1:2).
God’s presence within them will then sustain them, His peace will direct them, and their faith in His faithfulness will grow with each passing day (Colossians 1:27; Philippians 4:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:3). Even if our child never reconciles with us on this side of heaven, if they are truly converted, we will have eternity to spend with them in service to our King Jesus.
Our attitude toward them during their wayward years will make all the difference in their attitude toward us if they choose to return to the God of their youth. Therefore, rejecting them is never an option, because the light of Christ within us may be the only beacon to help them to see God’s truth.
Written by: Kathleen Bradley Kathleen was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and her parents transplanted her at age five to Pensacola, FL. At 18, she met Jesus Christ at Pensacola Junior College in the Baptist Student Union. At twenty, she married a pastor; and, since then, has enjoyed over 50 years of ministry with the Lord. You can find her ministering with her husband in the Pastoral ministry at Valier First Baptist and online on her nightly devotional blog.
Photo by Esther Trantham.