Buying a new house is exciting. It’s a huge commitment and is a major event in life. It’s been fun to watch my son and daughter-in-law go through the process, which includes both trepidation and enthusiasm.
I was honored to be asked to help in a painting project this past weekend. Thrilled to be asked, I didn’t want to say no, so came home from church and put on some work clothes, ready to go.
Let me just say…it’s been a long time since I painted.
I have painted. Actually, that was “my job” during my married life, as my husband never minded building, fixing or repairing, but he hated painting. I am not ashamed to say I’m pretty go at it, though it’s no longer so much fun.
After looking at the work they had already accomplished, I asked what I needed to do. I was given the job of taping the bathroom. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the act of putting painter’s tape between the walls you’ll paint and everything in the room you don’t want painted.
I did pretty good, until I had to get down and tape behind the toilet. Let’s just say, I’m not as young as I used to be.
In the end, I got it done, between visits with the Great Dane puppy they own, and began painting. I made my contribution and left happy.
While I was painting, though, I began to reflect on what was happening — they were making this house their own. Though they’d live in the same rooms, they would change the colors or even the purpose for the room. They’d add their own furnishings and pictures which would say, “this house belongs to us.”
We have to do the same thing with faith. As a parent, I can give my children the shell, the framework, the house of belief, but it’s up to them to accept it as truth and make it their own. Not all children accept the faith of their parents, and that’s the hard reality many face; but even when a child comes to trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, their faith will not look like the parent’s.
Jesus would not want it to.
If I believe that my children are uniquely and wonderfully made, then I have to accept the uniqueness of how they live out their faith.
This is not to say, that I don’t model faith and the Christian life for my children. I do. I even take them to church, read the Bible with them, pray with them, talk about Jesus and the hard things of faith with them. They need to know that faith in Christ is the most important thing in my life — the only thing that really matters. Otherwise, what will they be drawn to? Sports, education, money, work, other religions?
When the moment comes that they accept Christ as their own, I rejoice, I lay the foundations for their growth in discipleship, but then, I let go.
For me, I saw this happen as my sons left home for college. I had my own moments of fear and trepidation, wondering if the foundations laid would weather the storms they would face in the world. Ultimately, I had to trust them into God’s hands. It was in that act of obedience that I saw God work in their lives — not right away, but over time.
Now, when I listen to them pray, hear stories of how they’ve shared their faith or served in their churches, I’m grateful — they’ve made their faith their own. Different colors, different looks, different words, but beautiful images of Christ shining through the windows of their lives.
Having a hard time letting go and letting God, when it comes to your children? If you laid the framework, God will build the house.
Grace and Peace