I want to tell you a story.
The names have been changed to protect the guilty. For they have already been forgiven.
We read about each other’s journeys, memoirs and daily exploits. We picture others lives as victorious and grand.
Why, because many of us share only those parts of ourselves we want people to know about, right? Many of us are learning to be more transparent and vulnerable and thank God for that!! It is only as others see those parts of our lives that we keep hidden that they can identify with us and it gives them hope as we find our way. The truth is:
WE ARE ALL A MESS!
A beautiful mess…
We all have a story.
Oh, yes, we are all growing and maturing if our walk is with the One who loves us the most. But when it comes to outward appearances we are all quite private, mostly, and we are all too embarrassed to allow others in…especially when it involves our offspring straying from what we think and sometimes KNOW they should not be doing. When we look at others lives we tend to look at the children, who are many times all grown up, and we are aghast that they live real lives, with really bad choices sometimes.
We are all part of a family; some with young kids and some with grown kids and grand kids and some who are elderly and tend to live their lives through their offspring.
We can’t control them all, can we? If you have tried to control them, how is that working for you?
After giving them an upbringing the best we knew with what we had in that season of our lives it is now our job to then let go, and let them find their way with occasional counsel from us—but only if they want it!
Actually, if you are like me you have discovered that you can’t control anyone or “fix” anyone at all—even our children. It is a walk of surrender, trust, and waiting on God to see Him move in those we love.
This is why I am quite amused by the sitcom Parenthood. It is a combination of stories of a family and extended family of each child, grandchild, and the parents; all living their own lives– but intertwining those lives back to the a original family of mom and dad. It follows their ups and downs and daily drama and how they all relate. I know our lives are like this in real life. In our family, when we all get together we all talk at the same time, just like in the sitcom, and there is always drama, and somehow it all makes sense.
So, rather haltingly, because I have not written this way before, I have put together a story, using false names, to relate what I have seen in the struggles of so many that I coach.
Let me introduce you to the Squirrel family;
Mr. Squirrel, Mrs. Squirrel, and their delightful children; Hector, Missy, and JoJo. Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel found God when they were very young and vowed that their family would serve God all their days and that they would not have kids like those worldly animals outside the Church of the Forest. Their kids would be different.
Every Sunday the Squirrel family all scampered off to the little church in the forest, to fellowship. . Hector, Missy, and JoJo were raised in the Church of the Forest’s nursery, and then Youth church of the forest, and then they graduated to where the adult animals gathered, Big Squirrel Church.
The squirrels made really sure they always sat among their kind, meaning all the other squirrels, so as not to allow their children to be influenced by those questionable Raccoon and Rat families.
This is how the Squirrel children were raised and they were not allowed to even talk to the ones on the outside of their forest circle, lest they be tainted by the world…in fact, they were tree schooled so they would not have to be out in the world at all.
One day teen age Hector said he was tired of going to that boring forest church. He wanted to go to the annual “Nut Gathering Concert” by Herman and the Blue Jays that Sunday.
What? “How could he desert us and join those heathen”, said mom and dad Squirrel. “He surely knows better!”
Soon Missy and JoJo, following Hectors lead, began to want to do other things more interesting to them on Sundays as well. They became fashion conscious and began to wear questionable furry things over their little heads that made their ears stand out, and they revealed a little too much in Mr. Squirrels eyes.
They painted their little faces, and wore fashionable acorn hats. Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel were horrified, and tried to put up boundaries, and banned them to their rooms at night.
But Missy and JoJo would sneak out and join the wild ones of the forest and saw many tempting and delightful things that were expressly forbidden in their home. They felt so grown up.
They even went to see forbidden movies in the forest amphitheater after hours, like, “Dirty Weasel”.
Mom and Dad became aware that their control in the lives of the baby squirrels was slipping. The children began to run the forest with questionable characters, such as Mickey, the Ferret, who claimed that God wasn’t real and influenced them to join him smoking berry joints.
And then there were the horrid frog brothers, Castor, and Juice! They loved to hang out and jump around intoxicated on the spirits of mushrooms and were totally indecent creatures. They were the bad boys of the forest, and everyone knows that girls have a soft spot for the bad boys. The squirrel kids thought they were so cool, and soon, they defied Mom and Dad Squirrel to join their friends in swinging from trees and eating tainted nuts and flies, supplied by Mickey, the Ferret.
Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel wondered where they went wrong. They lost sleep. They prayed. They fasted. They beat themselves up. They withdrew from their friends out of shame and failure.
“How could we not see this coming? Didn’t we pray enough? Where did we miss it?” They cried.
They felt shame and didn’t want to share with others what was happening to their perfect little family.
“Should we call on the forest therapist, Harry, the buck?” They asked each other.
They decided to just pray– but they just couldn’t stop giving their kids ultimatums and demands to straighten up and fly right because that was all they could think of doing! They felt so out of control.
But Hector, Missy, and JoJo ignored their pleas and just kept growing up and doing their own thing, rebelling against authority with the rebels of the forest.
One day, Missy met Rastus the Raccoon and fell instantly in love. Mrs. Squirrel was beside herself as to how Mr. Squirrel would react when he found out his daughter was in love with an outsider.
The Raccoons were not like the Squirrels and she knew the rest of the church family would gossip and talk about how they, Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel, could possibly tolerate a raccoon in their family. And for that matter they wondered what else was hidden in the Squirrel family that the animals at the Church of the Forest didn’t know about.
And, oh my, what would people think? The whole forest knew the Squirrel family were the most upright in the forest!!
Next JoJo met Squirmy, the hot little rat who ruled the underworld of the subculture of the forest. He loved to mock the system of religion in the forest and had his own ideas of how he wanted his life to go and JoJo found him fascinating. They defied JoJo’s childhood teachings and warnings and soon they found out they were going to have a little squirrel-rat in the spring—outside marriage.
Mrs. Squirrel fainted.
Now, Hector, was out swinging one day and he noticed this hot little fox, Francesca, sitting on a log. She was petite and feminine but lived on the other side of the creek. She was everything he was taught to not become involved with. And she was very promiscuous….and had a really bad reputation among the creatures of the forest and she smoked berry joints and drank tainted mushroom water. But Hector was smitten and he began dating her at the Pine Needle Bar every night. Soon they were in love and eloped before Mr. And Mrs. Squirrel even knew about the relationship.
Mr. Squirrel drank a mushroom brew when he found out and was out of it for days.
Now, Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel became very discouraged. Was all their years of teaching and protecting and controlling in vain? They were now judged and condemned by the church creatures instead of supported and prayed for. They were so embarrassed by their children’s choices they stopped going to the gatherings all together.
But when they were ostracized by most of the animals in their church (whose kids were not grown yet, or they had no kids) and found themselves alone, they finally began to look to God for answers. God taught them that all their children had been taught the right way to live. Now, they had to let them go to learn on their own. Even if that meant they would fail.
The word said they would eventually come back to their roots of learning right from wrong. But even if it was not in the parents timing, God would bring them back. They discovered if they tried to fix their children the result would be that they only pulled away more. So, they defied what the gossips were saying and began loving their children and their families and accepted them into the fold. The revelation that they could love, even if they didn’t agree with some of the things their children did, actually made the kids all want to be around them more.
It was love in the end that brought them all back together. Oh, there is plenty of drama, and always some crisis or another, but Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel found that since they couldn’t fix their kids, that God did a much better job.
And you know what, Squirmy, Rastus, and Francesca, ended up wanting more information about God…and one day showed up at the Church of the Forest with their spouses leading the way.
The moral of this story?
It says in Isaiah 54:13 Amp.
“And all your children shall be disciples [taught by the Lord and obedient to His will], and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children.”
I know there are so many whose children are still out there living lives that do not line up with where they should be.
And it scares us.
And it hurts our pride.
It somehow reflects on us in our own minds.
So, we suffer alone. This is not good.
We need each other!!
Jesus promises us that as we lean into Him and trust Him that He will do His work in our offspring and He gives us peace in the meantime. Even though our children are a part of who we are, there comes a time to let go and trust that whatever they are doing, and wherever they go, that He will keep them and move in their hearts.
Thus says the Lord: Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord; and [your children] shall return from the enemy’s land. And there is hope for your future, says the Lord; your children shall come back to their own country.Jer. 31:16-17 Amp