Is there anything that bothers parents more than watching a child go astray?
Why can’t real life be like an episode of Little House on the Prairie, where in the span of an hour all the problems are fixed and everyone gets along again?
I think having a wayward child is especially hard on Christian families because it seems like it should happen to those people who don’t attend church regularly, read the Bible, or pray.
In reality, that’s simply not the case.
Faith isn’t a magic cure. It doesn’t protect against something bad or difficult happening–though wouldn’t that be great.
It does, however, give us the strength to persevere during those times.
Especially during adolescence, young men and women are discovering who they are: they try new things; they might change their style of dress or their hair; and sometimes they begin to question long-held beliefs.
It’s easy for life to become a battle ground as the parent struggles to hold onto that little child who looked up to them, while the teenager wants time and space to find herself.
And let me tell you, there are days the desire to win is extremely great.
In the span of a year, it seems like everything has changed. One of our girls had the same group of friends for almost a decade, enjoyed attending church and Sunday school, and listened to somewhat annoying but, fairly harmless, pop music. Suddenly, most of the old friends have been left behind, she’s questioning the existence of God and argues over attending church, and has turned to music known as “screamo.” I feel like I’ve been dropped in the land of Oz right alongside Dorothy and Toto.
While I am upset about it, the important thing I keep telling myself is that this is not about me or her father. It’s about her making a choice over who she is going to be.
Could I see this as a failure on my part? Maybe. Here’s why not.
God’s in control of this situation, not me. Her saying God doesn’t exist doesn’t make Him any less real. It doesn’t change how much He loves her and how much He will do everything to keep her close to Him. There is nowhere she can go that God won’t be there for her.
I also take to heart the words of Dr. James Dobson, who in his book, Parenting Isn’t for Cowards, cited a study that indicated 85% of strong-willed kids will “eventually lean toward their parents’ point of view by the time adolescence is over.”
I guess that means I’ll keep praying she is in that 85%. Or maybe I should be praying I survive her adolescence.