In the last few years God has brought some hurting families into our lives. Unfortunately, hurting and broken families have become the norm in today’s society. As I thought about the children of this brokenness – including the amber alert issued a few days ago (a father kidnapped his own small child), I thought of some things that I wish I could impress upon my own teenage children. Here is an edited version of what I sent my own kids:
When you are young it is hard to think about the future. The feelings of the moment seem real, the possibilities of the future do not. Both lust and love can head down paths that are permanent and heart breaking. Who you sleep with or marry affects so much more than the two of you, and so much more than the here and now.
Both love and lust can have the same affect, they can both bypass reality. They can be blind to faults, blind to consequences, blind to the future. If you do not have a standard, a measure outside of yourself, outside of your own feelings and thoughts, you will follow your love or your lust down treacherous paths. Until you have had children you cannot understand what happens to a parent’s heart. I know I don’t understand it still, but when I see a parent torn apart I hurt for them.
This person that you love, what will they be like in the future? One year, five years, ten years or more down the road? Do you want this person to be the father or mother of your children? Do you really know them?
Will you stand in court one day, waiting for a judge to decide who your child will live with? Will you watch someone who was unworthy of your trust drive away with your own child? Will you watch your own confused teen be led astray by your ex-spouse? You cannot imagine that hurt, that anguish of soul. Will you live in fear that a violent drug addict, the father of your young child, will want to spend time with his son? Or that your teen son will choose to follow his wayward mother rather than the God you serve? These children are in danger, not from the world or peer pressure, but from their own flesh and blood, from the young man or woman that you loved once, from that relationship that you entered into before you know how things would end, before you knew who they really were and what they were really like. Your heart will break with the child of such a union, in a pain that you cannot imagine.
And so I urge you, do not rush in to love or lust. Enter into relationship slowly and carefully. Do not give your heart or your body lightly. Pray and seek God in your life. Allow Him to bring people in, allow Him to direct your course. Look for godliness and kinship of heart and mind. Allow true love time to kindle and grow, and it will flame higher and brighter and warmer and longer than quick love or lust ever dreamed. Out of such a relationship and love will emerge a safe place for the future. A safe place for you, and perhaps for children as well. And whatever heartache you must suffer, may it not be the heartache of a parent who stands alone to protect your children from one who should have stood beside you rather than opposing you.
Lord, I pray for my own children. That You would keep them safe, pure, and devoted to You. I pray that You would guard their hearts and minds, that You would hold them tightly to Your side, that You would guide their steps. I pray that they would love You, desire You, and follow You down paths where You lead. I pray that the generations that follow me would follow You, that You would give me a legacy that follows You. I commit them to You.