Not So Empty Nest Days

Cherishing the days past while moving towards the days ahead, BHG

Child Academy PT I

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

The Old Testament is full of armies and fighting and even killing. It reads like an action packed movie at times! When I walked outside the gates of His Presence, instead of in His Presence, it was always harder to answer those who are not in the faith when they would ask why God had His people so violent. This verse in particular always threw me for a loop. Why were we training kids? What were we training them for? And then it seemed to be so obvious! I was to teach my kids right from wrong and the right way was the only way! The only issue with that is that I didn’t know the right way all the time. So I started giving them my version which was really watered down poison. I still saw troubles and rebellion, in fact it was growing. My son, my only son, even had a stint in the youth facility. I began wondering if training them in the way I thought they should go was really what’s up. It didn’t seem to be working. So I became really passive and listened to other authorities on children, like when divorce is in their past they have a hard way paved or angry kids need space, mess like that. I wasn’t willing to give up all together and let them raise themselves, I knew better than that, somehow. But for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. The other Christian moms I saw had it all together. They were planned, they seem to have order and even though their kids were a little more hyper, they seemed to have a grasp on the chaos. Little did I know, peering in the little dusty window of their lives, my view was worse than distorted. Or it was just a front to seem like everything was in control.

My kids have always been hyper and entertaining. Give them a few minutes in a room and they would have everyone laughing with their made up song and dances, jokes galore and even the repetitive memory lane stories they constantly tell anyone who will listen. When they were younger, I didn’t harp on them about running inside my house or being really quiet. I thought that was the dumbest thing I had ever heard of! They were young kids for goodness sake! There was a missed training event, to teach them there is a time and place for everything. I didn’t really start out with them being young teaching them to pick up after themselves, it was much easier for me to do and then when I did start it was pick up your own stuff, if it’s not yours then leave it. There was a missed opportunity to give a helping hand to others. When they got in trouble, although my love didn’t stop for them, I didn’t show any love. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure they are more loving on the street then how I was sometimes. It’s a wonder the streets didn’t come calling for them and take them away, no, it’s God! There goes that lesson on loving one another as you love yourself. And let’s not forget the Golden Rule. Heck, I had no idea what that even was! So they treated others as they saw fit and still expected to be treated right, much like their mom. I can really say for certain that the old adage, “Do what I say and not what I do,” is NOT a virtue that works! I never said it but showed them more than I was telling them, and to boot, they did not line up with each other.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My kids are awesome, in fact they are just figuring out how awesome they are! They are perfect as far as I am concerned even with all their flaws. And there are some good things I am convinced the Lord had me pour into them without my knowledge. None of them have any babies, none of them are on drugs or drink alcohol, none are drop outs or hang out on the street as an occupation as is the general rule of thumb for most youth where I live. And most importantly and thankfully, none are past hope, in other more definite words, none are dead. I’ve had at least two contemplate suicide, be addicted to porn or other unhealthy ways of life, one who conversates better with animals and the tv shows watched than humans, one who worships the ground their significant other walks on, a child that has been married and divorced to at least twelve different celebrities, two who were in college and for one reason or another have not finished yet and all three think my world revolves around them (yeah right!). But they are the kids God has given me, and even though they are older, they are still my children. I can still train them UP in the way they should go. It comes more subtly now because they are older and I have to fight back tears and frustrations. I even may have to send one with their dad because I need to stand by my word and my rules to keep peace in my house, I wouldn’t change one character about them. God gave them their character and that’s not what I am supposed to be focused on training.

Training has to do with dedicating them to the Lord and teaching them His way, not the “right way,” there is no such thing as the right way if the path you are on takes you further from the Lord. As we train our kids, we should be pouring love into them, honor, respect, discretion, grace, forgiveness; generally the Fruit of the Spirit. But in order for that to be poured into our children, it has to be in us. We can’t teach our children how to be doctors or lawyers or teachers if we have no idea how to be that ourselves. Why do you think homeschooling only goes up to the 12th grade? We only teach our children what we know. Not in our heads but in our hearts. If you only know how to be loud and obnoxious, disrespecting your parents and husband all the time, guess what your kids are going to do. If you only know how to be withdrawn and depressed, hiding from family and creditors when things get rough, guess what your kids are going to do. But if Christ abides (lives) in you and you live in accordance to that (if people can see your light), your children will do the same. I don’t know anyone who has Christ yet still does exactly the same things they did before surrendering to Him. If so, you are malnourished and need to get into His Word and a Bible teaching church pronto before spiritual death comes! I have been in both places. I have poured out poison, concentrated and watered down, into my kids. The only things I knew to teach and automatically showed them. I have also, much more recently after my surrender, taught and been teaching God’s truths for their lives. What I am seeing now is that the poison I had poured in previously is surfacing. At first, I was frustrated because I had switched up and changed, why weren’t they? But I see now, revelations even today that the surfacing of that poison equates to someone sucking the poison out of a snake bite or siphoning gas from one car to the other. The poison doesn’t go further down when this is done, it comes UP! My new form of training, God’s curriculum, is bringing up that old settled in poison so that grace can take up residency in its place! Whoa God! You mean I am going to see things I don’t like in my kids?! What do I do when they are defiant and disrespectful? Wait, I stand my ground with grace in my hand?

Part two is coming, so stay tuned…

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