Let me introduce Melanie Redd –
She is a woman on a mission to share hope and she is here today as my guest blogger. I met Melanie online in a blogging class. She has been a shining member of that group – always offering hope and help. When I put out a call for a guest post Melanie was the first to reply – even though she is in the middle of a book launch. Melanie is very much a heart person – so it makes sense her book is about parenting our children’s hearts, her blog post today is about our children’s hearts. I hope you are encouraged by today’s post – it can be scarey stuff to take a honest look at our parenting – but to do so can give us the courage to go forth and do what needs to be done.
The Danger of Losing your Child’s Heart
The stories come in all shapes and sizes… from outright loss to more subtle cases.
I offer two stories that stand out in particular, and a quiz to assess your parenting.
The first story…
Is the story of a boy who grew up in a minister’s home. He was the youngest of 3 brothers. The minister father traveled almost weekly to speak to groups around the globe. The sweet momma stayed home to take care of the boys. During their growing up years, this youngest child didn’t follow the path of the older two children. He was more of a free spirit, experimenting, testing, and trying out the things of the world. In high school, he got in with the wrong crowd and began to drink, try all sorts of drugs, and sleep around. He was quickly heading down a dangerous path. All along, his ministry parents were almost clueless. They seemed to be too busy or maybe just too naïve to notice this youngest boy’s progression down the wrong path. Somehow they “missed” the signs and were quickly losing this kid. In a final destructive act, the boy got in the car with another friend–both high on some drug. Their car crashed, and the boy was tragically killed. We watched as those stunned parents tried to grapple with what had taken place, still unaware of how lost and distant their youngest son was at his death. They had never won their child’s heart or understood his bent. And, they lost him completely at a very young age.
The second story…
Is the story of a much more subtle loss. This second boy was also born into a Christian home. His parents were actively involved in the church and were devout in their faith. They took their children to church, read the Bible as a family, and made sure that the kids knew about Jesus. However, this boy didn’t grow up with much love. His parents did all of the right things but didn’t enjoy raising their children. They didn’t seem to like playing with and hanging out with their children. They were busy, professionals who had “more important” things on which to focus. This second boy grew up feeling unwanted, unloved, and unimportant. His needs were provided for, but he never felt accepted by his parents. He grew up being cared for but never really feeling deeply loved. Adulthood found him empty and at a loss, in need of much counsel and affirmation. Although this second boy never rebelled, he really struggled to understand how to love others. He had to learn to accept the love of God. His journey was a tough one. The parents NEVER TRIED to win the heart of this second boy. And, as an adult, he wanted nothing to do with them.
The danger of losing your child’s heart is that they will grow up and not want to be around you.
- They will leave your house at about age 18 and not want to return again.
- They will have children of their own, and not want to bring those babies to see you.
- Or, they will politely spend time with you, but keep their hearts protected and their conversations shallow.
If you do not win and keep their hearts as little children, you will not enjoy them as they mature and grow older. They will grow up and leave you–physically, emotionally, and in every other way.
The real and ultimate DANGER…
Is that you never even realize you’ve lost their hearts until it is TOO LATE!
So, how are you doing as a parent?
As I close, I ask you to consider, pray over, and answer some honest questions by taking an assessment.
Choose one answer to each question:
1} Do you really have your children’s hearts? All of them? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
2} Is there open communication with your kids? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
3} If I were to question each of your children, would they tell me that they feel deeply loved by you? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
4} Do you think your kids enjoy being raised in your home? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
5} Is there joy and laughter in your home? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
6} Would your kids say that you value them and see them as worthy of your time and attention? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
7} Do you think your children will want to come back to see you when they are grown? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
8} If your kids are “away” from you right now, have you been praying for God to bring them back? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
9} If they are away, are you seeking to build a bridge with them again? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
10} For all parents, are you praying for God to give you the hearts of your children? __ Yes __ No __ Maybe __ Doesn’t Apply
*Now, tally up your score by looking back to see which answer got the most check marks: ___ Yes ___ No ___ Maybe ___ Doesn’t Apply
Most of us have some work we can do as parents!
None of us is perfect at parenting or has it all figured out. Prayer is the very best thing you and I can do to begin to build or rebuild a relationship with each of our children. To assist you, I’ve created a FREE Praying Parent’s Resource Library. You can get your copy by signing up at my website, scroll to the end of this article
Thank you Melanie. I am sure there are families who reading this cry because they can see the place of their children’s hearts is not where they dreamed, hoped or planned. Though I have not walked in your shoes, my heart also cries with you. I also believe in a God who cries even more – so I join with you this weekend to pray for your children and to pray for your hurting heart as the parent.