I've had a number of conversations with grieving parents who are grappling with what went wrong along the way. They did all the right things. They faithfully brought their kids to church. To Sunday School. Youth Group. Christian camp. Christian school. They "lived for Christ" at home the best they could. They did all the right things.
And then their kids opted out. Checked out of the faith. Wandered off. And kicked off lots of coulda/woulda/shoulda soul-searching and deep grief and despair to their very perplexed parents.
Click here to check out some very surprising stats ...
The good news is that many of these young adults continue to wrestle with God. They are trying to figure out what their faith looks like. And doesn't look like. And that's a good thing. Because "they don't have to be like me to be like Him." It has to be their relationship with Christ. Not their parents'.
And for this rite of passage to do its work, parents need to do one of the hardest things they've ever done. Finally release their children. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. To stand on their own feet. To make their own way.
And the seeds that have been planted have not been in vain. They continue to be watered by fervent, tear-filled prayers as these wise parents finally let their children go and watch them continue their rocky journey into the world of adulthood.
And this is prime opportunity for their own faith to be stretched and deepened, as well ... if they, themselves, do the often difficult work of simply sitting with God. Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them into some deep soul-searching. Absorbing and applying the timeless truths of Scripture. Discovering new treasures of faith in the darkness of "the waiting room."
And then surprisingly, or maybe not, the sun begins to shine. Slowly, tentatively. Faith is often resurrected when these young adults become parents ... and they begin to see the wisdom and value and validity of the "faith of their fathers." And begin to embrace it for themselves and for their newly formed families.
And they begin to bring their children to Sunday School ...
Encouraging the wrestling ~ Linda