Monday, May 11, 2015

The Payoff of Adult Children

Matt, Amy, David, Zach--in birth order.

I recently had a young mother talking about the trials and  stresses of dealing with young children.  I wanted to encourage her...but I had to tell her that the payoff comes much later.

Mothering is a tough job when the kids are little.  Most moms are usually around the kids a lot more hours than dad.  And a lot of the discipline falls to her...unless you tell them "just wait til your dad gets home!"  (And sometimes that's the only thing that works.) Little kids are messy and are really good at creating chaos.  Heck!  So are big kids!!  And if you have more than one, they fight, cry, whine, torment one another, demand, question, and hardly give you a moment to breathe.  I watched some young moms at church on Mother's Day wrangle their kids and I asked, "Did you just tell them all you wanted for Mother's Day is for everyone to obey?"  That's all we want!  But it's impossible to obtain with small children--especially all at the same time!  They don't reason or communicate on our level.

Even teenagers are difficult.  That's usually the age when they cop an attitude of "my parents are stupid and I know more than they do."  Of course, not all teenagers have that teenage angst...but most wade through it in some degree or measure.  It's hard for them to communicate without eyerolls and a good ol' "M-o-m!"  They hate the rules and on some days you just think, "It would just be easier to give in!"

But please don't.  Carry through with the discipline, the rules, and the teaching of respect.  Because tonight, I sit here meditating on the payoffs of adult children.  And there are many.  I have four adult children and the payoff is different with each one because we communicate and interact differently.  For instance, I can have intense, deep spiritual discussions with my oldest, Matt, who is very driven and has the heart of a prophet.  In fact, these days, he's doing the teaching and leading.  He keeps giving me books to read and I can hardly keep up. When Amy & I talk, we will laugh hysterically!  She is full of life and sees humor in even the craziness of four children of her own.  When she calls and tells me about the funny things they do, we can laugh for a full minute, trying to catch our breath!  She amazes me.  David is my gentle soul.  But when he gets excited about something, hold on to your seat!  Life rushes out of him and it's like trying to get a drink of water out of a fire hose.  I recently went through a study with him and it's like we were "getting it" at the same time and it was so exciting!  Zach is hysterical and keeps us all laughing. He can tell a great story!  But I can hardly keep up with all of his thoughts and spiritual growth--it's coming so fast.  He's learning so much as a leader and I love hearing his innovative ideas and the new truths he's learning.  There have been times when my son's music has ministered deeply to me--like ointment poured on a wound--or brought me to the throne of God in praise and adoration.  Just hearing Amy's vision for ministry gets me excited---she's made me "see" it...and she knows how to get there.  And this is just a small sampling from each of my children.  Trust me--I know their growth isn't about how well I did as a mom.  It's all about God and their submission to Him.  But we, as moms, have got to partner with Him.

Mama's....don't give up!!  Keep cleaning up those messes.  Keep disciplining your children. By learning to submit to you, they're learning how to submit to God.  They need boundaries and rules and much love.  But most of all, keep praying for your children and pointing them to Jesus.  They need that more than anything.  Will you do things perfectly?  Heavens, no!!  Of course you'll mess up!  There's not a mom out there who hasn't--and I was the chief of mess-ups!  But God in His grace and mercy wants to redeem our mess-ups and lead our children into His perfect plan for their lives.  And when He does...

The payoff is more valuable than anything you could ever obtain.  I promise.  It's gonna all be worth it.

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