Have you wondered why children sometimes seem ungrateful, unconcerned and unable to realize just how much we love them? How can those we love the most in this world often take that love for granted? This is a most difficult story to write. It isn’t natural to speak negatively about those whom we gave life to, those created in God’s own image, those precious children we would give our own life in order to save. We might speak words of correction, even condemnation to them, but if others come against them, look out. We’ll be right there to protect and provide. The little bundles of joy that came into our lives bringing more happiness and hopefulness than we could have imagined can also be bearers of heartaches. Children and parents make choices that keep them closely connected or sadly separated. It’s the little things the enemy taunts us to employ against one another that can bring division, eventually death to relationships between parent and child, friends, husband and wife, brother and sister, even our heavenly Father and his children. There is much truth in the old saying, the family that prays together stays together. Satan saturates our society with negativism and nasty tricks intended to divide families, destroy faith, and distance us from our Father. The good news is that the enemy has no power over us when we put our faith and trust in God. The devil cannot divide families that stick together through thick and thin with hope and help coming from our Father God, our very best friend. Trouble is, we can be hardheaded and hold back when we should be humble and seeking His will and way. I pray this message will help many people come closer to Christ and to their loved ones.
The intent of this writing is not to cast judgment on our children. Children will be children.
Some children create challenges that cause heartaches and headaches, while others deal with the same challenges without losing the close connection to their loved ones. Children act and react differently. Children stay and stray. Children are wise and foolish. Children need love and understanding even when we feel they are so far away. How do we explain the bond of love we share with our children and the frustration we feel when they are off track? Hard as it is when things aren’t quite right with our loved ones, we must look to how God deals with His children for a clear understanding of unconditional love.
Recently, I learned some powerful lessons of love and forgiveness, all in my big happy family. Our family is tightly woven like an heirloom quilt. The squares sewn together showcase seasons of growing up and giving, loving and learning, sticking it out and standing up for one another and for God. Times we shared became treasures, especially when our nest emptied and we sensed the pain of separation. When our heart aches, we hurt all over. The cure is staying close to Christ through all our seasons. Then, separation doesn’t drag us down. It propels us to new heights where we help others who have fallen and can’t get up. We must stick together and stay connected to the Vine in order to enjoy the fruit of a big happy family.
My oldest son started this story when he hurt my feelings at work. Mind you, I’ve toughened up through the years; yet, being tenderhearted brings tears when I declare I will not cry. When I wanted my sons to attend a family gathering and they had other places to go and things to do, I commenced to lecturing about the importance of family. My feelings were hurt; I cried, then got mad. I don’t even know why, except sometimes we get angry about our situations and take it out on those we love the most. So, I did what we women do well — I pouted. That just made my grownup sons not want to be anywhere near their pitiful little mama. Then, I prayed that God would help me understand my feelings and give guidance in dealing with my children.
A dear friend was put in my path within hours of my prayer. She stopped to tell me how Cameron blessed her and what a kind, loving person he is. Her words carried a message God wanted me to hear and share with you. Driving back to work, I knew God sent that person to help me when I thought it was my children who needed someone to set them straight.
Isn’t it ironic how we see the faults in others while overlooking our own? I sat in my car in front of Tim’s Gift and thanked Him for sending a godly person to me who shared words of love and life, reminding me to see the good in my children and not accentuate the bad. How different that little episode could have turned out if an unbelieving person happened by and heaped negative words about my son on my pitiful self. That’s happened to all of us, with people playing on our emotions, ‘you do so much for your children, they take you for granted, they should appreciate you more’! Truth is we should all appreciate one another and never take one another for granted, but we do. Who understands this better than our heavenly Father. I hopped out of my car renewed and ready to embrace my son with a humble hug, after repenting to the One who loves me, my children, your children, all His children with a love that touches eternity, with the willingness to give His life that we might be saved, with unconditional love that forgives, forgets, and frees us to love one another with peace and promise.
God understands His children. He is able to help us when we feel unappreciated or taken for granted, forgotten on special days or forsaken in times of need, rejected or misunderstood, overwhelmed with busyness or lazy and apathetic. He feels the same frustrations for He is Father to all the children of the world. Can you imagine the pain He feels when you and I take Him for granted and go to Him only when we need something? Do we forget Him until tough times come or go to worship Him only on special days? Do we lash out at Him when things don’t go our way… or as we prayed? Do we reject Him before man and deny knowing Him as did Peter? Are we so busy that we seldom take time to just sit down and have a little talk with Him? Do we wonder why He does things as He does and blame Him for bad situations in our lives? Do we claim to know and serve Him, but never spend with Him? Wow! The light suddenly came on inside my mind and lit up my heart. God really does understand. Yet, He always handles us just right. His example is his best lesson on how a loving Father acts and reacts toward his children. God is fair and just. He doesn’t mark us off his list just because we don’t attend events when He really wants us there, or we stay away from church for seasons and distance ourselves from Him. He waits while we wander. He nudges us to stay close to Him when we choose to stray. Our choices come with consequences. When we realize that staying connected to the Vine really is the only way to be happy and have a home in heaven, He never turns His back on his children. When we ask for forgiveness, He marks our slate clean. Not only does He forgive, He forgets and never brings up the silly, sinful things we did to hurt Him. His unconditional love is truly amazing. He loves all His little children. No matter what we do or don’t do, how good or bad we are, how far we stray…He is always there with open arms to welcome us back into the big happy family of God.
The next time you wonder how your children could be ungrateful or unconcerned stop and remember that God sometimes wonders the same thing about you and me. Let us strive to stay closely connected to our Father and to those He gave us to love on this earth. It’s an awesome feeling being part of the family of God — washed in His spirit and cleansed by His blood. If there are divisions or disputes that have distanced you from family members, friends, even your Father God, take the first step to repent and reconcile, loose the bitterness that binds and God will replace the brokenness with blessings. You will live in peace and promise as one big happy family!