Lesson 1: You control the input but you do not control the outcome.
I spent many hours in prayer with and for my children. I spent many hours teaching my children the Word of God and how to apply it to their lives. I made sure there was appropriate discipline for the transgressions that transpired and that appropriate forgiveness was granted when confession and repentance took place. Yet in spite of all this time, effort, and sacrifice, my children have made decisions in their adult life that do not reflect the input given to them. In my heart I began to wonder, “What did I do wrong?” The more I studied the Scriptures and pursued wise counsel, I learned that the outcome of my children were in the hands of God and the heart of my children. I could not make them want the Lord; I could only direct them to Him. I could teach, instruct, guide, and maintain the standards of God in my home. Yet, I could not control if my children would choose to walk with God as adults. I had to learn that God was holding me accountable to being faithful as a parent not successful as a parent. I could control the input but I could not control the outcome of the lives of my children. So it is with you.
Lesson 2: You cannot make your children want what you want for them.
I had the perfect plan for my children (LOL). I had planned for my children to go to Christian colleges, find godly spouses, and to spend their lives in ministry like their father! In my plan (hint: my plan!) we would all work together and make an impact for the Kingdom of God as a powerhouse family of ministry. My children had different plans (imagine that). The problem was not so much that their plans were different as much as those plans did not reflect the values, teachings, doctrines, and disciplines they had learned as children. I asked myself “Where are the children I raised?” “Certainly these are not my children!” It took some years, but I learned that I can’t make my children want what I want for them. My children have their own hearts and ambitions. I could correct, direct, and even encourage my children. Yet, I could not determine or dictate the desires of their hearts. So it is with you.
Lesson 3: You must hope the best for your children even when you see the worst.
As we have worked with our children over the years, we have hoped the best for our children even when we have seen the worst. We have prayed that God would draw them to Himself. We have learned that you must not give up on your children but continue to pray and hope the best for them. As my wife and I have continued in prayer, encouragement, and wise counsel with our children we are seeing our children beginning to come to terms with teachings they had learned under our leadership in the home. We continue to hope the best even when we see the worst. So it can be with you. No matter what season you are in with parenting, I pray that these lessons would be of some help to you as they have been to me.