I have this epic fear when it comes to my children and it’s bigger than any of my other fears combined when it comes to them:
History repeating itself.
My skin crawls at the thought of this. Not that I have lived this absolutely horrific life filled with one humungous poor choice after another with no light or joy whatsoever, by any means. I am beyond grateful for this crazy life of mine, including the unexpected gifts that have come from my failures and missteps and sin and pain.
But I look at my children and can’t help but wonder if I – in choosing my marriage partner out of neediness and fear, along with ending up divorced nineteen years later – have set them up for failure.
If I sit with this thought too terribly long, I can become paralyzed. So I must choose to battle that thought process on a consistent basis, and here’s how I do that.
I remind myself that there are no Plan B’s in God’s economy. There isn’t even one thing in this life that hasn’t first been either set up by or allowed by God. That can sting sometimes when we look at the painful situations in our lives, but it can also bring us comfort when we realize that God only allows things to happen that can bring us deep good or bring him deep glory. Because of this, I can be assured that my current circumstances will not strap my children with a plan B life.
I surround my kids with good, godly adults. I’m not naïve in that I know I cannot parent these two children successfully into adulthood on my own. So I ask other adults who I trust to spend time with my children and to pray for them. I’m not too proud to admit that it truly takes a village.
I pray. I’m praying against darkness taking over in my children’s lives. I’m praying for healing. I’m praying that they make better choices than I made. I’m praying for emotional and spiritual breakthroughs for each of them to occur before they reach adulthood. And I’m praying that I am able to see redemption burst forth in beautiful ways in both of their lives.
I speak Truth into their lives. The other day I told my son that he has an uphill battle into manhood. He doesn’t live with his father and the choices he’s witnessed are not ones he should emulate. That sweet boy of mine nodded in agreement because at the tender age of fifteen, he knows what I’m saying is true. I told him how desperately I want him to be a good, godly man; how I want him to find a job that he loves; how I want him to choose the right girl to marry who will respect him and whom he can cherish; and how I just know he will be an amazing father one day. And I told him that because I love him, I’m going to ride him on his grades and make sure he chooses the right friends and I’m not going to let him quit things and that I pray about these things for him all the time.
There’s only so much we can do. But we can do some things; and we can trust that our children are in the mighty hands of God. History does not have to repeat itself. Not if I can help it. And not if God can either. And trust me, he can.
If this post helped you, “Moving On as a Christian Single Mom” is for you, found here.
Sounds to me like you’ve got all your priorities right! I have no doubt you are an awesome mom, and I have even less doubt that God is indeed holding your kids in His hands. Rest easy!
I completely relate to your concerns. I grew up in a severely dysfunctional household, and I was very conscious of the fact that I did not want to repeat my mother’s mistakes. I would go so far as to say I was obsessively aware of it. I did everything I could to avoid it (or so I thought.) I even convinced myself for many years that I did not want children because I was so fearful of continuing the cycle. And yet, here I am, at age 38, realizing that repeating her relationship mistakes is exactly what I did. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, so looking back; it’s easy to see where I went wrong.
The difference between your children and what I went through is YOU. You are aware of the poor decisions you made, my mother is still living in denial. You are taking the time to advise and teach them that there is a better way. You are providing them with additional positive, outside support. And, most importantly, you are teaching them to trust in God. These things make all the difference in the world. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think because my mother never learned from her mistakes, I had to learn those lessons for the both of us. While you, on the other hand, have and are learning from yours, so your children don’t have to.
I think if you continue to guide them as you have, they will learn from your redemption as opposed to experiencing that pain for themselves. I try to find some comfort in knowing that all the pain I have gone through is part of God’s plan. And you’re right; there is only so much you can do to protect them. But, in my opinion, you’re doing all the right things.