Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Oh What Is Man?

In choirs past we have had the opportunity to sing songs that are both lyrically and instrumentally moving. Some songs bring excitement and adoration of the King through clapping and shouting and giant smiles across each face. And some songs create a mood of somberness and humility before the Almighty Creator. One such song we sang in BSU Choir was Majesty and Glory of Your Name. I know that many of you have probably sang this in a choir yourself at some point. It has become a staple choice of many choir directors for such the reason mentioned above. It brings about the emotion of fear and reverence of our Lord.

Last night, our skies were darkened by more than the absence of light. Our skies were darkened by massive clouds full of energy and power. Our skies were darkened by the colliding of wind and temperature. Our skies were darkened by gushing water pouring from these clouds. Our skies were darkened and yet illuminated by the lightening as it blazed across the span of our outside ceiling and touched the earth with vigor and swiftness. Our skies were darkened by the dominance of the turbulent and massive tornadoes that destroyed so many things within seconds. Our skies were darkened by the power of God to give and take away.

My family was blessed…even more so than the last time these steamrolled through our state one April day just a few years back. This time we have maintained power and we had a basement to go into for shelter. I feel spoiled and unworthy as I know that even as I write this, I have friends and family picking up pieces of their history and of their present life that are no longer whole. The great question “why?” will be prominent today and I feel enormous pressure to answer that question. Yet, there is a time and a place. I am a firm believer that each person is built not only physically different, but also mentally and emotionally. Comfort is needed right now – yes, but words are not the comfort that will best show Jesus. Giving feet to His word is needed today. Serving and exerting the energy that He has given you to attend to the people that He has created and to love the families He adores is the only answer you can give today.

My God will supply all of my needs. Yes, this is true and yes, it is comforting. Yet, it is difficult to explain in moments like this why he would spare one and allow another harm. I am a prime example of God sparing AND allowing harm. I am also aware that it is not of me to find myself unworthy of pain. God spared me from the greatest pain with the crucifixion of His ONE and ONLY son. God desires to speak to us all and sometimes He must speak through others in order to get our attention. Sometimes you are that “other” being used by the Almighty to shake someone into a realization that He is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do and He will do what He says He will do. So many people that I cross paths with in this region of the world are professing Christians, but their lives leave NO evidence of a walk with the Lord. He longs for ALL of us to come to an intimate relationship with Him, and yet we keep putting it off until tomorrow because there is too much to do today.

What is there to do when it is all gone? What is there to accomplish when you have nothing? Where is there to go when you are surrounded by destruction? What is it that you just have to have that you will sacrifice one more moment at His feet in order to be of this world? Who can you cry out to in the darkness when the wind is roaring so loudly that you cannot even hear your own voice? He will spare no expense to get your attention. There has not been a tornado pass through a community in my lifetime that did not destroy one or more churches – GOD’S OWN HOUSE. Wrap your brain around that! He allowed the destruction of a shelter of WORSHIP OF HIM so that He could demonstrate to you His power and might.

Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed – and they had no comforter; power was on the side of the oppressors – and they have no comforter…And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is MEANINGLESS, a chasing after the wind…There is no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment.”…Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning. Ecclesiastes 4:1,4,8,&13

Don’t misunderstand me friends, this passage is not saying that your home lies in ruins because you were envious. It could be. But it could also be saying to your neighbor or someone within your sphere of influence that their energy is being exerted on things that are temporary and not eternal. Exhausting yourself to gain worldly fame, wealth and prestige does not gain you eternity. You are depriving yourself of the joy of what life was truly intended to be. For in a moment it is gone. The oppressed are in need of a comforter and healer. Yet those responsible for the oppression are also in need of healing as a wound or the weight of sin has caused them to behave in such a way.

The sun is rising, but the sky is still gray and full of clouds. More storms are coming. Are you ready? Do you have your eternity secured and your priorities in order? Our world is diseased and God is patiently waiting for our choice to be Him and not self. May He be ever merciful today as we watch His power unravel once more. Oh what is man that you are mindful of him?

The Majesty and Glory of Your Name

When I gaze
Into the night sky
And see the work
Of Your fingers
The moon and stars
Suspended in space
But what is man
That You are mindful of him?
You have given man
A crown of glory and honor
And have made him
A little lower than the angels
You have put him
In charge of all creation
The beasts of the field
The birds of the air
The fish of the sea
But what is man
Oh, what is man
That You are mindful of him?

O Lord, our God
The majesty and glory
Of Your name
Transcends the earth
And fills the heavens
O Lord, our God
Little children praise Him perfectly
And so would we
And so would we
Alleluia, Alleluia
The majesty and glory of Your name
Alleluia, Alleluia

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


The little missionary girl continues…

She was aware that God was calling her to follow Him, but as to whether it was the far East as she secretly fell in love with Hong Kong or if it was to just the eastern parts of the United States…that was up in the air. As I grew in my development through the wonderful era of middle school and high school, I struggled with the typical identity crisis that all adolescence battled. Though I was a believer and possessed within me this still small voice that whispered wisdom and caution, I still wanted to fit in to the mainstream. And I know that God has made me and created within me the drive and ambition that exists, there is always going to be that fine line of what is my desire and what is His desire. From time to time, I decided that my desire was His…when it wasn’t. I made decisions about places that I chose to give my time and attention to that were most likely not the best use of my energy and my image.

Does that make sense? I know that God grants us freedoms and I was aware of the surface understanding of that freedom as a teenager. Yet, my heart was still so immature and unable to truly practice this freedom in a way that was truly honoring and glorifying to the One who granted such freedoms. Though I was free in Christ, I am not free to cause others to stay distant from Christ. So there is an unfortunate selfishness that comes with the exercising of freedoms bringing those who are in the celebration of freedom with you in a place of decision. Is the God with whom she (Jodi) professes to worship the same God that I have heard of throughout sporadic mentioning within my child-rearing? Well if it is, and she is participating in the same extracurricular activities as me, than I am good, right? Wrong! Yet, my life did not give them pause.

I was the “everybody’s friend” kid in school. I don’t think that I was truly aligned with the in crowd nor do I think I was too terribly aligned with any clique more strongly than another. I did have a core group of friends who were also believers and who were also loveable by many. Frankly, I think this was a benefit as I began to wrestle through the hypocrisy I found myself in. As I realized that my decisions affected more than just me, I also realized that the connections that I had made in all of my socializing proved to give me a heart for the struggle of the teen. My heart learned to listen and not just judge – as it once did. My heart began to process the pain and struggle of friends and schoolmates as I started to understand why they made some of the decisions that they made. My mind was able to formulate the rationale behind the choices and direction of life and in so doing, I was also approachable. My approachability allowed me to be able to listen when others would not and my approachability would also, from time to time, allow for God to speak through me as He wanted to reach out to these fellow students who were in need of hearing that they mattered and their decisions were forgivable and that their future was salvageable.

God is good. So this leads me to the whole college entrance with a major in psychology. I would save the world through counseling and most likely end up in some form of youth ministry. I get it. God was building me to lead Disciple Now weekends and to write Bible study curriculum…sorta. God was giving me an understanding of childhood and adolescence so that my ability to serve in the schools was a ministry and not just an employment. God was giving me a heart for the unheard. God was calling me into ministry not only in my occupation, but in my life over all.

In March of 2000, I was 3 months into an engagement with this guy who was in medical school. What he didn’t know and still questions is that I was planning to marry my soul mate – the person whom God had paired me with in order to do work for His kingdom. Therefore, his occupation did not matter to me. If he was a doctor of medicine, than I envisioned us taking medical missionary trips together in the future. If he was a carpenter, than we would build playground equipment and habitat homes in the future together. I didn’t care. But he did. In March of 2000, my fiancé called me one Wednesday evening to tell me that he had heard from the Lord. I love these moments. I don’t know life without them. God speaks and we listen and it is that simple. Goosebumps, right? Well, the Lord had clearly told him to remove himself from medical school and pursue a career in the ministry. My fiancé feared that I would leave him because apparently I had appeared to be a gold digger. 

But remember the little missionary girl? Well, she came alive that night and wept with joy that once again, all the pieced began to take place. Jodi, you will love the ones who need the love the most and you will listen to them all. Jodi, you will adapt your life in order to reach the unreachable. Jodi, you will serve my kingdom through the schools so that you can help impact more families for my kingdom. Jodi, you will have the personality needed to compliment a minister. Jodi, you will use your event planning and leadership to help your spouse creatively lead a flock. Jodi, you will utilize your faith in prayer to get you through some challenging times (oh and what I didn’t know then…). Jodi, you will have supportive family members who will walk with you through this new adventure. Jodi, your spouse will make big decisions and brave decisions and will need you to be his cheerleader through and through. Jodi, your physical strength will be challenged and you will need to maintain it for my glory. Jodi, your trust in my provisions will be challenged, and I will show up.

I shared my whirlwind of affirmation with my fiancé over the phone that night and allowed him to know that I was behind him 100%. For I also trusted that his knowledge of science and medicine would be a part of our ministry in the years to come. I knew that this season had purpose and as I reflected upon where we were and the previous seasons coming to clarity, I believed that my Savior would make it all clear once more in His time. So I follow…

Timing is everything and timing is perfect when it is of the Lord.

Thursday, April 17, 2014



We urge our missionaries to do this. We tell our seniors in our youth group to do this. We hope our military does this. Do we?

Wednesday nights are designated for missions emphasis in the Southern Baptist world. As a young girl, I was exposed regularly to heroes of faith. Each week we were taught about different missionaries and their callings to certain people groups across the globe. Each week we were challenged to pray for these people with great awareness of what they had sacrificed. Each week we were educated about the vast differences in our simple and yet posh culture and the minimalist and sometimes primitive culture of the targeted region.

Shhh, don't tell anybody, but I was the geeky kid even back then spinning the globe and trying to soak in all of the great differences in all of His creation both on a physical geographic standpoint and a political geographic standpoint. I LOVE SOCIAL STUDIES. There I said it. Yet, even greater than that, I am fascinated by history. I want to know how we got off of an ark and repopulated the earth not constantly looking over our shoulder at that big boat on the mountain and almost kinda shivering in our skin with the awareness that the same God that put that boat afloat and the ground my feet rest upon once under water is the same God I am daily in the presence of. What happened? Which generation dropped the ball? Which dispersement of children or grandchildren stopped placing emphasis on worship of the Creator of the world...the one who allowed them dry land again?

Nevertheless, it happened and the distance between reverential trust and healthy fear of God and the daily walk we trudge is greater than it has ever been. As a young girl, I knew that God was calling me to go and serve him, but that was my church thinking. As I was growing in my school (my career prep area), I was toying with all the different jobs I could do that would give me fulfillment. But let me tell you something super cool. God was at work when I was a child too. I remember very clearly as a second grader deciding that I wanted to be a teacher. I think all little girls sometimes toy with that career, but I was passionate about it. That remained my goal for the majority of my elementary days. Upon junior high, as classes started getting harder, I also fell in love with the idea of helping people through medicine. So I decided I wanted to be a doctor. This employment is also noteworthy, buth the two are different in many ways...yet similar too.

Well, Chemistry happened. My love of medicine turned to fear of medical school and I backed down. Now how can I help people. Psychology. A new class at my high school, but oh how I fell in love with the study of the human mind and how we actually work so differently. So this was my major upon entering undergrad. God, knew better. Even during my first semester of my freshman year at Samford, God was redirecting me. I was able to join a ministry that spent one night a week ministering to the youth in our juvenille detention center in the local city. It was there that I reignited my passion to teach. It was there that a fellow leader in this ministry gently reminded me of this gift. So I changed majors and returned to my second grade passion. It was not just a career change though. My calling had come full circle.

Through the weekly visits to the juvenille detention center, I was reminded that God gave me the passion to go. No, He commanded me to go. The previous 10 years of my life was my preparation for the path that he had lying before me. I loved medicine for many reasons. I didn't just love the study of the human body - though it is truly fascinating - I loved the idea of helping people find their strength and purpose and hope. I didn't just love the study of the human mind - though it is far more detailed than we can fathom - I loved the idea of helping people work through their problems and find a healty resolution and plan of attack for the challenges that will still come their way.

Through teaching, I not only explain the government, but I also help students find out who they are in our society. I counsel them to have ambition and to make our world better by being the best that they were destined to be. I listen when their home life does not promote their best interest. I love them when others do not. I explain to them things that they have never had truly explained in a fair and just way. I hold them accountable and let them know I believe they are capable when the world does not. So I use counseling in the classroom - A LOT.

My passion for medicine was met in a rather unique way. My soul mate that God aligned me with is a unusual medical case that is not as simple as some medical conditions. My prior knowledge of biology and human anatomy have been awakened in great ways as I have become an uncertified nurse on more than one occasion to my husband. God was so kind to allow me the attention to these subjects and the joy of this knowledge for it TRULY DID benefit me in my years to come.

Now back to the little missionary girl. She is now all grown up. God has equipped her to teach and to understand his creation both inside each human mind and body and inside each culture. He didn't just do that because learning is fun, though it is. God did that because he wanted her to be prepared for what lies ahead. You see, today I will begin to tell you the story of how our family is answering the call to go. Today, even to me. The past ** years of my life are now all beginning to make sense. What has God prepared you to do? What has He given you a passion for? What has He peaked your interest about? Have you ever sat down and began to connect the pieces?

Our family is going. I want to tell you why...

Monday, April 14, 2014


So I have a confession to make. I am a horrible friend. I am. The people that call me friend probably do so out of pity. And no, I am not writing this to fish. I am exposing some of the ugly truths in my life that I need to own up to. I rarely let people into my deep dark world. I struggle to overly commit myself to the investment of a friendship. I take conflict as a sign we might not mesh. I struggle with coming out of the comforts of my jammies and my faux rabbit fur blanket to go play.

Many people boast on having large amounts of friends. Yet, I think they are most likely taking inventory of their fond acquaintances. Fond acquaintances are people you would grab a bite to eat with on a scheduled Friday night. They are the ones you sit with at lunch and commiserate about the drudgery of working for the man. They are the ones whom you borrow change for that needed soda at the 2:00pm napping hour we all endure. They are the ones who remember your birthday and maybe bring cookies. They are the ones who give you advice about buying a car or a house or which doctor to use.

Friends? Ah, friends are different. Because of this distinguishing status, they tend to be fewer in quantity. Friends are people you call after a horrible day and they drop everything and go to Sonic for a Route 44 root beer float AND drink one with you despite their commitment to a diet so that you do not drink alone. Friends are the ones who send you random texts throughout the day to make you laugh and to distract you from the drudgery of work. Friends are the ones who bring you Starbucks at 2:00pm with a note that simply says recharge OR that loans you the money for the soda never expecting the repayment because they know it can come in greater returns than $1.25. Friends decorate your car or office for your birthday and kidnap you for birthday dinner at your favorite greasy dive.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend...Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. Proverbs 19:4 & 6

Your friends are the ones still standing in the wings waiting to hug you when you announce that you are no longer able to serve as a leader in the local community service venue you have given 10 good years of your life. Your friends are the one that don't tell you what other people are saying because they have already defended you to them and the issue is no longer necessary to address. Your friends are the one who don't ask for continuous favors, but instead are about trying to out give you. In the above passages of Proverbs, there is mention of the attraction of wealth tends to have the attraction of "friends." When the popularity wears off or the newness wears off or the money runs out, many will find a new host in which to leach upon. However, there is the one. Sometimes the one is not whom you thought it would be nor is it when you thought you would find them.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy...Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27:6 & 9

Some of my closest friends are those with whom I have had some of the most difficult conflict. Their love for me and willingness to call me out on my sin and shame is PAINFUL...but necessary. We need that person in our life that is able to discern when we are stepping out of line and when we are not honoring the Lord. We need that person in our life to speak truth to us when we are creating our own. We need that person in our life to listen to our sorrow and to allow us to mourn while helping us recover. We need that person that will give us the swift kick in the pants when it is time to get over ourselves and stop being selfish.

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend, and do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away. Proverbs 27:9 & 10

Fond acquaintances will not do that. Fond acquaintances will pat us on the shoulder when we are lamenting over the same struggle for the 100th time and verbalize how difficult our lives are feeding the sorrow. Then after patting us on the shoulder, they will get in the car and drive away calling their other friend and telling them how pitiful we are. My husband always says that when you find yourself in consistent tragedy over and over again, there is the obvious one common denominator in each situation - YOU! A fond acquaintance will not point that out...they might not see it. It isn't because they don't care for you...they just don't KNOW you. Therefore, they can sometimes counsel you to make choices that are not best for you or better yet, not honoring of God.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

With whom in your life right now do you need to pursue a deeper friendship? Who is capable of helping you sharpen your life into a more effective and enjoyable soul? You just had someone pop in your head didn't you? Now pray about it. Pray that God will solidify your pulling. Pray that God chose this friend and NOT YOU. Pray that God will provide opportunities to develop trust. Pray that God will help you to chisel the wall down that you are hiding behind. Adversity is avoided for fear of inflicting wounds or receiving wounds. Perhaps that is why I am such a crappy friend. I live in this world of avoidance of adversity. Oh but don't you worry, it finds me anyway. Ha!

If God has called you to befriend someone or develop a friendship with them, than pursue it. Pursue it as He pursues you. When they seem to be closed up and reserved and surfacy, just keep exposing yourself so that they realize you are placing a great deal of trust in them. They, too, will eventually start testing the waters. I am not saying to go up to the person in the next cubicle and give them your life story. Just realize that God is going to grant you the desires of your heart - the ones that you suppress. Take God's flashing neon sign. You will be blessed by that person and your world will be better.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Coming Soon

Check back after NOON today! I got one coming! Friendship. Who has mastered that?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Blessed? Now what?

My cup runneth over!

I am too blessed to be stressed!

God is good…all the time!

And on and on go the wonderful colloquialisms of our time about the goodness of God and His rich blessings that He bestows upon us. Yes there are times in our lives that we feel distant from the Lord and are not enthralled with His lavished gifts. However, when we are in that moment of awareness of “life is good,” are we behaving in a way that is respectful of the concept that “life is good”? Complacency v. appreciation is the battle.

You are blessed! Good for you! God has given you…
…a raise
…a new job
…a spouse
…a child
…a new home
…a new car
…a new friend
…safety through travel
…safety through a life situation

You fill in the blessing. Let me remind you that you are not blessed with just one thing. More on that in a minute. So you are blessed…now what? Are you acting according to that blessing? Are you using that blessing to bless others? Are you taking time to be at the feet of Jesus each and every day and say thank you for this undeserved gift? If you are shaking your head with the answer of no because the things you are blessed with are just everyday life circumstances, let me remind you that your everyday is not the next person’s every day. In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers elaborates on the order of a prayer life. A prayer life begins by expressing your gratitude to your Creator for all the ways in which He has been faithful to you. Do you do that?

I am not just talking about thanking God for your meals, or even for your good day. Do you thank God that you are where you are at your certain walk? Do you thank God for the challenges that He is walking you through? Do you thank God that you are not where you were yesterday? Do you thank God that you were born where you were? Do you thank God that you have money to put gas in your car to get you to the job that you have so you can receive the paycheck that you get in order to pay the rent that you owe for the home that you have that protects you from the cold outside? Some people feel that thanking God for everything can be a bit excessive and time consuming. Let me tell you, I even wept and praised God after we did our taxes the other day as it was not as bad as I had expected. Some might say I have low expectations…I am just aware that it could always be worse!

It is when you begin to thank Him for things that you begin to realize that life is not that bad. It is when you begin to thank Him for things that your soul begins to release the fear and frustration from what is absent from your life. It is when you begin to thank Him for things that you begin to find direction and with that direction comes a sense of peace and purpose. So you are blessed…now what?

What are you doing with that blessing? Do you have a new car? Awesome. Whom are you allowing the opportunity to share in your blessing? Meaning, who are you taking to school/work/church/grocery store with this new mode of transportation? Do you have a roof over your head? Outstanding! Whom are you allowing to share in this blessing? Do you host Bible studies at your home? Do you allow your kids to have guests over and then model for them how a Christian home functions? Do you allow friends to crash there when they need a place to stay? Do you have a job? Great. Do the people at that job know your great secret – JESUS SAVES? Do they see a difference in you because you have been changed? Do the people not at your work see a difference in you because you have been changed? In other words, are you complaining that you are not among the unemployed?

God has blessed me soooooo many times and pretty much all of these blessings are moments that I am truly undeserving of His hand of mercy. Let me tell you how I keep it in perspective. Now mind you, I do have my toddler pity party every once in a while when I think things are unfair. However, when I am continually throwing that pity party at His feet and not in a large public arena, He is faithful to eventually wipe the tears away and push back my hair so that I can see WHY!

I am blessed to have been born in a country where God is still allowed. I pray that sustains! I am blessed to be born in the South where being a Christian is culture. I am blessed to be born to parents who not only know who Jesus is, but also actually practice regular respectful worship and recognition of His greatness. I am blessed to have an education. I am blessed to have a higher education that assisted me in getting a job. I am blessed to have a job, and have had one everywhere we have lived. I am blessed to be able to pay my bills. I am blessed to be able to travel from time to time to vacation or to visit family. I am blessed to not only have one car that runs, but two. I am blessed to have a spouse that knows the Lord. I am blessed to have a spouse that not only knows the Lord, but chooses to serve in an occupation that allows him the blessing of introducing others to the greatness of our Lord. I am blessed to not only have one, but two healthy and wonderful daughters. I am blessed that they are good kids for the most part. I am blessed to have a good relationship with them. I am blessed to have a good relationship with my brother. I am blessed to have a wonderful sister-in-law. I am blessed to have a beautiful niece and nephew with whom I get to spend time. I am blessed to have tremendous in-laws, not just a father and mother-in-law, but the extended family as well. I am blessed to be able to enjoy family gathers, truly enjoy as both sides of our family are just beautiful. I am blessed to have a pillow to sleep on. I am blessed to have a phone to talk/text/email/etc on. I am blessed to have clothes in my closet. I am blessed to have food in my pantry.

I will stop here as I am sure that most of you are bored with this already. My point is that none of these items I have mentioned in my thankfulness are deserved. And none of these items I am blessed with are universal. As I look around the globe…no, my community, I am keenly aware that everything I am blessed with is missing from someone else that I have come in contact with at some point. So what am I doing with my blessings? That is my earnest prayer today. Lord, you have blessed me with ________. How can I better use it for your kingdom? How can I share it with others? How can I honor you with it? So I am blessed, Father. Now what? What can I do with this gift?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

But God, They Don't...Part 2

In the previous post, we dove into the challenges of dealing with parents that may or may not have been present in your life and may or may not have provided you with a clear path to the Lord. It is crucial that before we go any further, we must first address the very necessary principle of who is in control. Whether you are the parent or the child, though you utilize all the influence that you can muster, you cannot change another person. Just like you, each individual comes to a place where they must make decisions for themselves. You can probably all identify people that belong to amazing families and are still not the most stable citizen. If you wish to change someone and "improve" them, you will only exhaust yourself attempting to influence and alter someone else.

Now, kiddos...as an aspiring parent, I will not even begin to tell you that I am an expert on how to raise your children. My girls are amazing, but I truly believe that is Divine Intervention. AND they have not hit puberty yet. Insert panic face here. However, as an educator and a counselor, I have seen patterns in parenting that are somewhat effective in preserving a parent/child relationship where the child tends to have a desire to respect their parent and makes decisions based upon what they have seen modeled for them. Ere go again, I am the parent of pastor's kids, so again, insert panic face.

So you are an amazing parent. You make sure your child is never hungry and make it to school consistently. You provide them a bed, probably with great bedding that keeps them warm in the winter. You might even let them experience socialization in an extracurricular activity where they can learn teamwork and compromise. You might help them buy that first car, or second, or third. You help them with college and encourage them to reach for the stars. And then you find yourself flabbergasted when they choose to pack up, quit school, move in with a new boyfriend - in Albuquerque - and let you know that they will call and text often. What the crap? You have invested 18+ years of your life trying to help them become successful and yet they "fly the coop," so to say. Why? Or better yet, why God?

As we addressed in the previous post and the first paragraph, you must first begin by ceasing the punishment for not doing enough or doing too much. There is not progress in looking back. You must look forward. The Prodigal Son is the greatest example of a parent who invests and provides and almost spoils their child, only to have that child exert greed and take away some of their laborious reward so that they can then waste it in a fraction of the time it took this father to acquire said wealth. Wow, what a kick in the teeth.

The Bible chooses not to speak on the activity of the father while the son was out partying and then suffering the consequences. It only describes the parent upon the return of the child. Does the father spend his time worrying about the wayward child? We don't know. Does the father spend his time speaking hateful words about his greedy son? We don't know. Does the father sit down and speak with the other brother in order to proceed with life? This is not truly discussed. However, I am sure that many of you have made some guesses as to how his heart was feeling upon this detachment.

Many of us are worrywarts. We want to still be with them when it comes time to make difficult decisions so that we can advise them and direct them. There comes a point when you must just accept that all the effort that you have poured into them to model decision making and to model life direction is all that you can do. Now it is time for them to make these decisions on their own. They must choose to either utilize what they have experienced in your care or they can choose otherwise. Hard, isn't it? Have you also reached the point where the decision they make is not necessarily a bad decision, but it is against your personal preference? You, as a parent, have been given a charge in scripture to train up a child in the way they should go...and then let them go.

I get tense thinking about it. Have you met my youngest? :)

You are in a place of influence in the world (everywhere, not just with your kiddos). So your hope must come in the confidence that you have obeyed the Father's command to you as a parent, and now, it is time to let go. Now, were you perfect? Probably not, as there was only one that walked this earth as perfect. Did you point them to the Lord? Did you share God's word with them other than at Sunday School? Did they see you experiencing a loving and trusting relationship with the Lord? Did they learn to love others by watching you? Did they learn that disappointment is inevitable? Did they learn that practice makes "better"? Did they learn how to think for themselves?

If your answer is NO to any of those questions, than don't freak out. It is not what we did in the past, but where we go from here. If you still have children under your wings, than you are still able to live a God-fearing and God-honoring life for them to witness. Now the charge is upon you. If your children are no longer under your roof, you still have a chance. Though they are adults now and making their own decisions, they are still observing you. Making an effort to grow closer to the Lord, and then sharing about that life-changing experience with your child is noted and stored away in their heart. They will see the person you are and they will see how that person is in comparison to their life. Do not berate yourself for the past. God is not honored in that. Humbly apologizing for not being an example is not a bad thing. Humility is honorable. Graveling is not.

Your children will make decisions without you. Some will give you peace and joy and some will make you hold your breath in anxiety. They are God’s children too and He is waiting on you to let Him help you. Give them to him in your prayers and let Him guide you in parenting. When your gut says discipline or intervene, it is probably the Lord. Know the difference in your desires and His though. Know that sometimes they need to scrape their knee in order to not perform that stunt again. It is hard, but it is worth it.