Fear and fear not

Parenting is hard, sure. There are times when the struggle doesn't seem to let up. But what is the struggle, and why is it there?

If we didn't care about how our children turned out, then there would be no struggle, no pain. If the sum of parenting was simply to keep that pound of flesh with our characteristics alive -- to let that meat-parasite become whatever their twisted 2yo head wanted to become, or 12yo head, or 22yo head for that matter -- than keeping food in the fridge would be the entirety of parenting -- that, and teaching some rudimentary skills like frying an egg.

But parenting is shaping, molding, directing, training, teaching and protecting. Parenting is nurturing and guiding and fostering and moving that child increasingly into what God designed them to be. We are not their king; we are His steward of them. And then they leave.

And in the leaving, even with all the careful preparation, there is both fear and joy. Joy because of being able to launch them into adulthood with their accomplishments as well as our own.  But fear too, because we know they will screw up and leave the path that God designed . We know where some of the pitfalls are, and we know that there are many unseen pitfalls. And we know that many people will lure them off the path of godliness and into pain and misery, which looks like fun. There is laughter coming from the faces of those people who they have come to enjoy --  which promises fun but delivers pain.

Yet that child of ours has left us so many times before, for small amounts of time, but never have they relocated out of the protection of our parenting, and called another house their home. Never before have they become an adult.

Which is one of the reason why divorce hurts so badly. Because that child can move into another person's home and can come to call that place their own. In doing so, they become de-facto adults without sufficient cognitive skills, without a single team training them, without predictable direction provided by consistent limit-setting -- not to mention two very different views on what training in godliness entails. God hates divorce for many reasons.

Aside: My generation, Gen X, was raised in the culture of no-fault divorce, where the parents justified their selfishness by saying that the children will be okay -- and those children, now parents themselves, have become fully invested in their selfishness by using the same justification.  And so, having moved from tolerance to acceptance, this third generation has moved the goalposts further, from acceptance to demands -- as this Gen Z is trying to 'educate' us by posting what pronouns to use regarding them.

If I didn't care, I would say they are alive, therefore: success enough. Yet I do care, and those demanding the anti-Christian mindset of, 'the kids will be okay,' offer the challenge: Who are you to say what's right for them? As though right and wrong is debatable. And as though it were about me.

And there are familiar faces to these children, people who they have come to trust, who question the very path of godliness itself, by asking what the devil himself first asked Eve: Is that really true? There is deception in the question, but the question was inevitable. God saw it all and had it worked out from the beginning.

God is not taken by surprise, and He will not be mocked. He knew His children would struggle and die when He made them. Yet He designed and provided the way through the struggle; through death, into peace and life -- from the very beginning. And it is my prayer that my children place the entirety of their trust in Him -- no matter what the devil may say through the faces of those with whom they laugh.

There is no good-enough. There is nothing short of perfection, and God Himself made that Way, He is that Truth, and He offers that Life to the full. No one can come to the Father without having first gone through that Great Exchange offered freely by the Son -- His righteousness for our sin.

And there are thresholds to be walked through. Like Senior Night, which is just a prelude to Graduation. Knowing that there will be a launching of that child into the greater world, and knowing that God is sovereign over it all -- fear and fear not.