"[We] figure if [we] can protect and shelter them well enough, if [we] can always be positive with him, if [we] can send them to Christian schools or if [we] can home school, if [we] can provide the best possible childhood experience, then [our] child will turn out ok."
--excerpt from "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp
I have lived the majority of my parenting life in fear that one grave mistake will break my children in an irreparable way and I will have squandered the gift given to me to steward. I have believed that if I could only stay home, home school, and be a specific mold of a parent, then both my daughters (and soon, my son) will grow up loving the Lord and making every good choice under the sun.
But I was sorely mistaken. Sorely wrong.
Life is full of unexpected circumstances that change the shaping influences in our children's lives--whether for the better or the worse--and sometimes, even as their parents, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. I don't believe this reflects poorly on our behalf, but rather forces us to recognize that even though those chubby cheeks and gorgeous little eyes are ours for the stewarding, we are still not in control and cannot claim ownership, even of them. At the end of the day, the Holy Spirit gave us these little ones for the purpose of partnership with Him. He desires that we partner with Him and allow Him to guide, lead and show us the way of a true parent; He is after all the Perfect Father.
He is our partner in parenting, indeed He is the leader in our parenting. We are merely to follow and demonstrate and teach His love. Whether we stay at home all 18 years or 18 days, whether we are able to home school or not. The Holy Spirit is the author, finisher and perfecter of our faith and our children's faiths. Circumstances do not determine faith, but rather our degree of faith determines the outcome of such particular circumstance.
"All men are broken. And broken men break their children, who grow up to be broken men. BUT, I AM bigger than that. Your babies are my babies..."
--The Heavenly Father