The Tough Task of Letting Teens Go
I laid my head down on my pillow, but resting did absolutely nothing to calm my nerves. Whether I wanted them to or not, the evening’s events replayed in my mind. As I waited for my son’s final decision, I couldn’t help but wonder how many times God had similarly waited for me to make the right choice.
As my son grows older, his opportunities change and decisions carry more weight. Where once I could learn the desires of his heart through asking simple questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” and “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I now must wait and learn through observing his actions. I’ve taught him what to do and where to go when faced with tough decisions, but stepping back and allowing him to suffer the consequences of whatever he chooses is a lot easier said than done.
As parents, we are driven to love our children in a way that would spare them the most suffering. We want to do anything and everything to see our children succeed. At what age do we step back and allow our children to apply what they’ve learned to a real-life event, with real-life costs?
If you had asked me before today, I would have answered the well-rounded age 18 without a second thought. However, after considering the repercussions of suddenly releasing great responsibility onto my son all at once, I had to step back and reevaluate my method of parenting.
Just as I wouldn’t want God to withhold His mercies from my life, neither would my son want me to spare him opportunities to learn and grow. I would rather see him fail now and learn to suffer well than be ill-equipped and overwhelmed when facing immense difficulties and testing.
We learn from the book of Romans, suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and that character produces hope. But we also know through James 1: 2-5 that we should consider it pure joy whenever we face trials, because it is through the testing of our faith that we produce perseverance.
James’ instructions, let perseverance finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing, is clear. It doesn’t matter whether we fully understand why this is the good way of the Lord, just that we recognize it is. We need to joyfully endure life’s hardships, knowing each circumstance is another opportunity for further sanctification.
As a mother, I struggle to watch my son hurt and fail, but as his sister in Christ, I know God has a plan for his life that includes challenges and trials to perfect his walk.
Laura Story warns us well, “We’re tempted to measure our circumstances on the world’s scale, but God’s economy uses God-sized scales. His story is so much bigger than ours, and one day when we see it in totality. We’ll have all the answers we desire.”
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. ~ Psalm 19: 7-8 (NIV)
Article originally featured at TLSM, The Life of a Single Mom on October 9th, 2017