When Bruce and I had children we knew they would not be perfect. How could they be? We were raising them, and we are about the furthest thing from perfect! Surprise, surprise, surprise (in my best Gomer Pyle voice....you might need to google that). Imperfect people cannot raise perfect children. So, my kids were destined to be a mess. We prayed that God would give us wisdom and grace to raise them to be godly, that they would know Christ at an early age, fix their eyes on HIM and never look away. I don't pretend that we have even touched the hem of doing it right. We are not finished raising them (are parents ever really finished?)
But one thing I know is that I'm not raising the "preacher's kids" anymore than a plumber should be stereotyped to be raising "plumber's kids". I've done it before- placed unrealistic expectations on people ...only to be sorely disappointed when they fail me. Shame on me. I know I don't want that expectation of raising perfect kids just because they belong to the preacher.....Oh, but wait.....
They don't belong to the preacher. See, way back when the kids were super little, still in our arms, we gave them back to the Lord. Much like Hannah did Samuel. So, they are God's kids. His. Not mine. Not the preacher's. We're the earthly instrument to pointing them toward their Heavenly Father. I'm not trying to raise perfect preacher's kids. I'm trying to guide imperfect children to God. And I will fail. And they will fail. I will make stupid mistakes....and they will and do too. They will do things that make me sad and joyful. They will make me proud and disappointed....and perhaps, if your eyes are on them, you will feel the same. I'm sorry. We are a work in progress.
Thankfully, I don't feel like we are under a micro-scope, like I hear from other ministry friends across the country. Thankfully I feel like grace upon grace has been given to my kids. Thankfully for the most part, they make me very proud. Thankfully God has already captured their hearts.
But, as we make our way in parenting, let's encourage each other. Be another parent's biggest cheerleader. Tell another mom "you're doing it right". Or ask a good mom, "What did you do right?". This world will beat you down and tell you it's not worth it to do this parenting thing with all your heart. But just like that marathon runner who finished their last mile of a race...the work you do in parenting may not be completely realized until the race is complete...or at least further down the road.
Recently I sat at lunch with three teenage boys who travel singing with their father, who is an evangelist. They were the most polite, well spoken, gentlemanly young men I have ever met. At dinner the same night, I sat across the table from a close mutual family friend and asked her what she felt like had been a factor in raising such responsible, godly young men...since in the world today that is so incredibly rare. Her response was that she had watched the parents....Consistently pointing them to Christ.
That's my goal. Send them to Jesus, point them to Christ. Because I'm not raising preacher's kids.....they are on loan to me....for just a few years.....God's kids, and I want them to know their Father...to walk in His steps, to know His voice. That's the goal. Give them Jesus.