My eldest daughter, Caryn, left the day after Christmas to board a plan to India. Within a span of six weeks, she will have spent time in Bhutan, India, and Nepal. While she primarily is there to simply love people, she is also working as a humanitarian photographer. To be honest, I have lost count of how many times she has traveled abroad within the past seven years. I am always happy for her to go, but there is certainly a sense of relief when she safely returns.
Three years ago, I had a very vivid dream one night while my daughters were overseas. At the time, my older girls were 20 and 22 and they were both in India doing a three-week student outreach. To my horror, I dreamed that their plane crashed. Then I saw them standing before their Creator with such immense joy. You could see God’s delight in them. As I watched all of this take place, God suddenly turned to me and I heard Him lovingly whisper, “Cherie, MY daughters died living.”
Every man dies. Not every man really lives. ~Braveheart
In the dream, I knew that my daughters were doing what they were created to do and they had no regrets. With tears I awoke and wondered how many of us never really live because we are playing it safe. Unfortunately, I felt as though I was living that way.
How many of us quench the voice of God because we desire for our children to pursue the “safe” American dream? We tell them to love the Lord and follow Him, but we make it clear that they first need to get a college degree, get a good paying job, get married, and shortly thereafter produce some grandbabies? Or perhaps we tell our kids that they can follow Jesus, but only in certain places. I used to be guilty of these very things.
If you are anything like me, when your children came into the world you actually thought they were yours. Oddly enough, my thinking shifted in a financial class. When Jon and I took this class we were asked to sign over everything we thought we owned to God — our home, cars, saving account, and even our children. Stewardship defines our practical obedience in the administration of everything under our control, everything entrusted to us, especially our children. Our greatest job as Christian parents is to lay a solid biblical foundation for our children and pray they will know and love the Lord. This provides for their wellbeing even after death. In 1 Corinthians 4:2, it says, “It is required in the stewards that one may be found faithful.” What does this look like? Well, it should look different for each of us. As parents we are to be obedient to the Spirit’s leading. God didn’t design us to be cookie-cutter families.
As a mom, it is important to be in the Word so we can pour into our children and feel more confident in our role.
Isaiah 40:11 says, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
I love this verse because it reminds me of His leading in my life. I am so thankful that my older girls love the Lord and often wonder how they got to where they are. There are things I wish I would have done or said differently, but it is reassuring to know that He led me on this journey of parenthood and continues to lead me with my youngest. My job is to seek the Good Shepherd.
When my daughters were young I had them learn and put into practice 1 Timothy 4:12. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” As a mom, I desired for my girls to do great things, live fully surrendered lives for Jesus, and be obedient to His calling. As my girls grew, however, and started living out this verse, I began to freak out. Call me crazy, but the way my daughters lived out this verse looked vastly different than I originally envisioned. It was especially hard because I was still new to letting go. I guess this is another reason why it is helpful to have a vertical focus!
Over the past few years, my daughter’s obedience, tenacity, and love for Jesus has tremendously grown my faith. It is amazing because my trust continues to increase alongside my faith. He is trustworthy.
God is my children’s protector. I don’t even need to worry. Instead, I can praise the Lord for knowing every detail of our lives! I can also trust that my girls are hearing from Him, because I know that they seek Him daily. He has been faithful to direct their path, and they have continued to faithfully follow His leading.
David Platt said, “To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus. The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ.” As a mom, this is still sometimes scary. I am still learning how to let go, but I pray that I will continue to entrust my girls to the Lord and His leading. He is trustworthy and He has good plans for my daughters!
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.~1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
Are you preparing to let your children go,
to go wherever God calls them,
even when it’s not what you envisioned
and are doing something completely different?
Cherie married her best friend in 1985. Together they do premarital counseling and encourage families to live intentionally while enjoying their journey of life together. They have three wonderful daughters: Caryn (1988), Courtney (1991), and Cayley (2001) who keeps them young and hip. Cherie is passionate about encouraging and equipping women in their roles as women, wives, and mothers. She enjoys meeting and connecting people, but she is happiest when chilling with her family. Cherie is also a contributing writer for I Take Joy.