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But, what if you did everything?

I read an article this morning which upset me. I don't know the author other than that she is a mother. In her article this morning, she encourages other mothers to be diligent to teach their children the gospel. She suggests that if a mother is not taking the time to teach her children the gospel, then that mother should question her own salvation. My emotional reaction at my initial reading means I should probably not go into detail with some of my questions, but the one thing I really found most troublesome was her admonition to parent in fear.

I parented in fear, and it was disastrous. I was too often ruled by fear, and I believe it had a negative impact on my parenting, including my the spiritual growth of my children.

My children were taught the gospel. In our homeschool, in church, in kids' clubs, youth groups, Sunday school. We had regular conversations. My husband and I were their Sunday school teachers for a while, and we had a youth Bible study in our home regularly for a few years. We were active in teaching them. But today, I have a child who has wandered and not yet returned. I don't talk about it because it's no one's business, it would be disrespectful to my child, and because that child's story is not over yet.

This writer encourages mothers to be fearful about where their children are headed spiritually, and she encourages them to question their own salvation if they are not doing enough to teach their children the gospel. There is nothing wrong with self-examination and a healthy fear, but my concern is that some young mother reading that piece is going to take that admonition to an extreme which will possibly lead to a lot of false guilt later on. I've been there. The blame game. What didn't I do? How could I have done better? 

What if you did everything and your child still is not living for the Lord?

It has taken me many years to find peace with my own situation. I cannot begin to articulate the depths of the grief and sorrow my heart bears. Some days, if I allow myself to think about it too long, I'm in trouble. I must turn my trust to God. I cannot live in despair.

If you are a young parent reading this, please don't parent in fear. Parent with a healthy understanding of what God's word says; and it says that judgement comes for those who don't believe. But also parent with hope knowing that your child's salvation and spiritual development are overseen by a sovereign God, who can, and does, work despite all of your mistakes as a parent. No, don't neglect to teach your children; but remember that you are not the author of your child's salvation.

Resist the temptation parent in a daily mode of fear that all your efforts will not be enough. Fear is not always rational, and becomes irrational very easily. It causes us to make rash decisions without thinking through things clearly. Fear leads to guilt and recrimination later on. And when our kids don't comply with our teaching, it can cause strain in our relationships with them. Don't parent in fear. That is one of the worst things I ever did.

If your children are living with an active, healthy faith, don't thank yourself. Give thanks to God.

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