As parents, one of the hardest battles we face is in our own minds. Our own struggle as parents to make the best decisions for our kids. To lead them and guide them in the right direction. We wrestle with the thought: Did my decisions, the choices I made for my child … did they help him … or did they hurt him? Have I enriched his life by my decisions, or have I scarred him? Is he better for it? Or worse off?
When we left for Mexico thirteen years ago, we took our five children out of the comforts of life in the states. The stability of dear friends, family close by, strong community of faith. At first, we thought, “This is great. Our kids will have the opportunity to grow up in another culture. To learn a new way. Another language. They’ll live in simplicity, without the bombardment of materialism.” They were young. And, of course, they had no choice but to follow. And it was great. And we were changed—all of us— from the inside out.
But when they became teenagers, they struggled a bit. Each one in their own way. And some harder than others. They felt manipulated, forced to give up their friends and family and life back home. Their relationships were fleeting because people always came and went on the mission field. They learned to say good-bye easier than hello because no one stayed long enough to go deep with. Our homeschool was touch and go because of the demands from the ministry and I often wondered if I had failed them in their academics and stunted their future. Our lives were chaotic and rarely at rest.
For the last couple of years since we’ve been back and our kids have re-entered life in the states and tried to find their way, I’ve battled with the question of our decisions. Did we do the right thing? Are our kids going to be okay? Did they miss out on years of friendships and learning and stability. My mind is never quite free from the doubts.
This morning as I sat here at my desk, I happened upon an Instagram post my middle child wrote last night. The tears still stream down my face as my mommy-heart encounters healing.
My son was responding to a picture someone posted of our ranch in the middle of the desert. The one he forfeited ten years to— according to my doubt. In response to the picture, and to the person who posted it, my son said this:
“I see the rainbow, and I remember that place.”
I see the rainbow and I remember that place. How profound and beautiful.
And here is where the healing begins … our children are not our own. Our precious ones belong to the Lord. To the Maker of heaven and earth. He gave them breath and has a plan for their lives. We might fail them. And we often do. But every day … every single day, He is molding them and making them into His own image. His fingerprint is on their lives.
And here is the greatest thing … He is using moments—many we don’t even recognize— to impress His rainbow on their hearts.
I would love to hear from you … What ways have you seen God’s hand in your own children’s life? Where has he taken you in understanding Him?