Drowning Parents

They just keep coming like relentless waves crashing against the rocky shore. At first, I was shocked. Now when I hear something new, my stomach turns sour and my eyes well up with tears. “Not another one”, I hear myself scream.

I am searching for some common thread and find none.

They found a condom in her purse. He smoked something that made him vomit. She is pregnant. He is verbally abusing his girlfriend. They were up all night at the hospital because she had alcohol poisoning. Gay porn was discovered on his laptop. She ran away from home. He is getting high every chance he gets. They found a pregnancy test in her drawer. She denies the faith. He questions if there even is a God.

These are all real scenarios, from real kids that I know. Kids from the church. Kids that were home schooled or public schooled. Kids that were in AWANA all their lives. Kids whose parents are godly, gospel loving parents. Kids who served in the nursery. Kids who went to youth group every week.

I grieve. I wrestle with it. I ask God why. I shake my head. Something went wrong. Or did it?

There are the “other” parents that I now observe from a distance because some of them have put me there; ostracized because they “have heard” what my son has done. They are afraid that their children will be tainted by him, so they avoid me and do not let their younger kids play with mine.

The rest of us, whose kids are the main characters in the scenarios above, are left…. heart broken, baffled, wrung out, embarrassed.

We raised them to be different. Maybe that’s just it. All the work we did and we thought we would have our “prize” at the end: a successful child, a godly child, a child that others look at and admire as an example. Then naturally, they would look at us and think, “They did parenting right. Accolades are due them.”

I can’t shake the guilt or disappointment- no matter how I try. It keeps coming back, hauntingly. I know it doesn’t do me any good, (in fact it only harms and points an accusing finger). It comes through the stares of the parents whose kids are on the right path, keeping their noses clean and heading towards a bright successful future. They don’t mean to (probably), but they have this oh so smug aura about them. And every time, it twists my own knife further.

Meanwhile, we are crushed, sitting on the sidelines trying to love our children unconditionally, trying with every ounce of our being to exemplify patience with their foolish choices. Our hearts broken. Our minds perplexed.

All I can do is cry out through the tears as another wave, another heart-wrenching story comes at me. I beg God to save them all, to let them see the dawning of another day, to save them from an early death and eternal separation from Himself.

Did I do everything right? No. Neither did the other parents. Are there lessons to be learned? Yes, by us all. Will God have to save all in His time? Yes. He makes things beautiful in HIS time.

I am left to weep and try to make sense of it all. The waves wash over me and they linger through the salty residue left behind. At moments, I think I might drown. Then I remember the life preserver at my waist. I can’t see it. I just know it’s there and that alone assuages my fear and guilt for another moment.

9 thoughts on “Drowning Parents”

  1. I’m so so sorry. For everything. And I would never judge or ostracize. I’m sure my kids will do some terrible things in their future. The thing is…it doesn’t really matter how good one raises their children. I’m convinced it’s even HARDER when kids DO come from a Christian home. They will ALL make mistakes. Whether it comes from drugs or having a self-righteous attitude…it’s all sin. There are no gaurantees that if we do a +b then our kids will be on the right track. Kids are wild cards. We cannot control them…..

    And I think the main things I am going to attempt, is to try not to get sucked into what others think…because then it becomes a pride thing…Being embarrassed about our kid’s behavior. I know for some, they idolize their kid’s behavior and it starts when their kids are born! Yuck! I don’t want that!

  2. You have written my heart. I feel like my whole life was a lie. Home school them, raise them in the church, read the Bible to them, teach them precept upon precept and they will grow up to love God. Not so. Not yet. I haven’t given up on God, but I feel like I have given up on the “truths” that don’t feel very truthful right now.

  3. You always manage to say the things that we all feel down deep in our souls. I promise you, you are far from being the only one feeling this way. I love you, Sis-in-Christ.

  4. Davi,

    You are so thoughtful!I love your sensitivity and wisdom. May our Lord guide you each step of the way in your own journey of parenting!

  5. Oh friend… I hear ya for sure. The truths are still truth no matter what. What we have invested in eternal things matters and I trust will manifest itself one day.

  6. Thank you dear friend. Your encouragement through the years and “realness” have given me hope. 🙂

  7. I’m behind on blog reading and finally got to catch up here today. So well written, my friend. My heart aches at the reality that we can not secure our children’s faith. After reading this it made me feel that the most important parenting skill we possess is prayer. Above all the “right” things we do as parents, let it be praying for our children’s souls that trumps them all. Standing by you in prayer. Love you friend.

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