Friday, November 13, 2009

Sweet Faces

At this moment, I am contemplating where my children will be in the next 10-20 years.  No, this is not a post about prophecy or how bad the world is becoming and how we need to change it.  I am thinking about the sweet faces of my babies (don't tell my 12 year old I just called him a baby!) and wondering what they will look like in the next couple of decades.

Will I have photos of my seven children smiling with the spouses they love and who love them?  Will some of those photos be in the form of missionary prayer cards?  I wonder if they will have children who look like they do now, allowing me to remember today far into the future.  My desire is that the love, joy, and peace of Jesus Christ shines on all seven of their precious faces until the day they take their last breath.

So many Christian parents have the same desires and dreams I have.  Yet, think of the people you know who have led a hard life - a life of sin, crime, immorality, greed, and gluttoness.  Think of the hardened rock star you see on the magazine covers, the homeless man you saw walking downtown last week, the 20 year old girl who has three children and doesn't know who their fathers are.  Each of them were sweet little babies, toddlers, and children.  Their parents have their child-like images smiling at them from school pictures, birthday party pictures, and pictures of everyday life.  When that moment was caught 10 years ago, the day they checked their son into rehab was not even a thought.

Could that happen to my children?

Will their faces show signs of pain, bitterness, and sorrow?  Will any of them have gone to the world and tasted it's temporary pleasures only to find themselves growing old before their time?  Will I look back at a picture of my one of my sons when he was just three and smiling in the midst of his babyfat only to have the tears fall thinking of him sitting in a jail cell or on the street with no place to go and addicted to drugs?  Will one of them become famous - a ball player, an actress, a supermodel, a rock star - and, though smiling, will anyone see the pain in their eyes knowing what it cost them to become a superstar?    Will they remember the home they came from and the Jesus they once sung about or will they feel nothing but emptiness as they buy a bigger and better house or faster car attempting to fill the void?
It is sobering to think about.  As a parent, I am responsible for training my children in the ways of the Lord so that they may continue on that path when they reach maturity.  I must not just teach them the Bible, I must live the Bible in front of their eyes daily.   I must pray for them every morning, every evening, and oft times in between.  Instead of filling their eyes with even "harmless" videos made by Disney and Hollywood, I will direct their eyes to the living Word of God.  Instead of filling their ears with the music of this world's idols, I will provide them with holy music directing their praise and worship to the One True God.  Instead of hanging posters on their walls of unsaved sports heroes, rockers, and teen-stars, I will take them to church and help them get to know missionaries, preachers, and their fellow church members who serve God in their daily lives; for these are the true role-models.  These are the people who will help them reach their fullest potential - for there is no higher calling, no nobler career, than to walk with God.

The path that they take is ultimately their choice.  But, while I walk that path beside them, I will do everything I can, by God's strength and grace, to lead them in the right direction.  I pray that in 10-20 years none of my children will have aged prematurely and look at me with vacant eyes due to veering off the path, but will have youthful smiles and gaze on me with bright eyes as I say, "I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in truth."

2 comments: said...

You are on the right track in thinking of your responsibilities as a parent for how your children turn out. Never underestimate your effect on them.

One important thing to helping them turn out happy, wise, and self-controlled is giving them the right balance of love and discipline. If you require obedience and use consistant discipline, they will learn to discipline themselves as they grow older.

Margo said...

I have the unique perspective of seeing one of my children already grown (he will be 26 on the 17th!) and still parenting 2 pre-teens at home. I am thankful that this time around I am relying more on God and less on myself.