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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Impacting our Grown Children

Being a mother is filled with emotions. There's joy when the baby is born! Joy at their first coos and words. Weariness at their crying and fussiness. Excitement at their understanding of new things like reading and numbers, and Who made them and the world they live in. No one could deny the feeling of anxiety when their child goes through hard things - whether it be just learning to obey or enduring the pain of a bully at school.

I read I Samuel 2 today and I am thinking about Hannah. She wanted a child so badly and God so graciously answered her prayer and gave her Samuel; a sweet boy to raise for him. Joy! But she only had him for maybe four or five years. I can just imagine all the training she gave him when he was very young. She and Elkanah must have poured themselves into him. As we read about the kind of man Samuel was, we see that He was a man of godly character; that didn't come from the influence of Eli's sons. I believe he learned godliness at his mother's knee.

Think about the emotion involved in taking him to the temple to serve the Lord when he was just a little child and leaving him there. How do you think you would have felt? When we look at the Scriptures we see that Hannah didn't fall apart. She came home after leaving Samuel each year and she used her hands to get busy and do something for him that would benefit him. Verse 19 of chapter 2 says, Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

I imagine as she took up that fabric and sewed that coat for her little son, she prayed. I imagine that she prayed that God would protect Samuel from the wickedness that was going on all around him as he served in the temple. Did she also pray that he would remember the truths of God that he learned at her knee? Hannah knew her God and she must have taught Samuel these truths! Look at what she prays in verses 3 and 4, Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. Was she thinking about Eli's sons as she prayed this? I am just speculating, of course, but she was, nonetheless, a godly woman who knew her God and knew how to pray.

I love that Hannah didn't just come home and cry! She must have missed Samuel - he was her only child at the time, but instead of sulking, she got busy. We know that when our children are in our home we're to be busy teaching them, but what are we to do when they're gone? Is our influence in their lives limited? Now that I have an empty nest I realize that there are still things that I can do for my daughters that will benefit them even though they are out of our home. Following Hannah's example, here are a few thoughts...

  1. I can pray. Elizabeth George said, "If you do no pray for your children, who will?" I must inquire about what is going on in my girls' lives so I can pray effectively. I can ask them if they have needs for which I can pray. I can pray passages of Scripture for them.
  2. I can get my hands busy and do things that will benefit them. Since my girls have grown up in this technological age, they receive text messages with more readiness than emails. So, I've tried to begin looking for a verse that I can share with them each day. When I'm having my Bible reading I look for a verse that will encourage them, and then I text it to them.
  3. My hands can also benefit them by finding things for them that they need while out - simple things - coffee for the dorm room, a journal for sermon notes, praises or devotional thoughts, a book that would be encouraging. Baking, sewing or crafting something for them are other ideas, but more importantly we must weave Christ into every fabric of our lives. Do our children still hear of our faithful attendance and service at our church? Do they know that that is still a high priority and not something we did just when they were home? Let them know you're praying about decisions you're making. Not in a "preachy" way, but in a gentle way live before them a Christ-filled life. Hannah did what was practical and helpful. Providing the means to attend a college retreat at a Christian camp would be another helpful idea. I also heard a friend of mine say she is giving DVDs of Sunday's messages to her unsaved children to listen to - it's her Valentine gift to them! Our grown children need to know that we are cheering them on, thinking of them, and doing what we can to speed them along the way of loving and serving God.

If your children are out of your home, ask the Lord to show you what you can do that would benefit them in practical ,godly ways. Remind them that their mom isn't home pouting that they're gone, but is cheering them on as she longs to see them serve their great God.

What are you doing to impact your grown children? I'd love to hear!

With love,

1 comment:

Whitney said...

I couldn't ask for a better Momma. I love you!!