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Good intentions – 2018-03-20

Good intentions are just that. Intentions. They are like great ideas that never go anywhere or become a reality. Intentions and ideas raise hopes and can dash them as quickly when they fall apart.

I long for 100% follow through in my own life, and am sad when I am not able to follow through. But that is also an unachievable goal that is sometimes circumvented by life…

“We hope to…” We are planning to…” Not quite the same as a promise, but nonetheless a let down to those whose hopes were raised.

This morning, my heart is focused on promises: fulfilled and failed.

Life has many disappointments, we live them, we grow through them, we learn from them. We learn who stands by their word (most often) and who does not. We learn to count on those faithful friends and take with a grain of salt those promises of fickle friends. We learn who to trust with our heart, we learn who love with boundaries without expecting a return. We learn to problem-solve instead of collapsing at every problem.

We can so easily forget those key points when we have children. As parents, we want to protect our children from those heartbreaks and disappointments, but they are part of growing pains. If we protect from trials, from disappointment, we take away the victories as well. Is there anything as sweet as achieving a victory over a difficulty, a hard climb, an obstacle? The victory belongs to the one who accomplishes it – when we accomplish those victories for our children, they are our victory. Second-hand victories have little value and are rarely appreciated. If we want our children to be successful, we need to let them fail. It is typical for many failures to precede victory.

Over-protection, enmeshment, prevents our children from becoming COMPLETE adults, it ties their hands and hearts so that they are not free to grow. As enmeshed adults, it can look like taking for granted that we deserve happiness, that we are owed protection, like the world revolves around “me” and is here to please and take care of me… it can look like entitlement. When we experience disappointment, when we learn to lean into the challenge, we learn those virtues: patience, perseverance, fortitude, and so much more that grow our character. Life becomes more than routine, it becomes a journey. I feel that you cannot fully experience amazing joy without also having experienced heartbreak…

When we over-protect, In many ways, we become the intermediary – we try to become our children’s Jesus – WE become the sacrifice, WE become the savior, WE become the protector. Honestly, why would they need Jesus when they have us? Our loved ones cannot experience a full relationship with Jesus and, in fact, we steal their blessing when we stand in the way and do not allow them to experience Jesus’ provision personally.

Your experience might be different, but I am a very poor substitute for Jesus and would rather have my children have a close relationship with Him than a distorted relationship with Him through me. When I look back, the one thing I know I did right as a parent was to pray for my children. Everything else is subject to personal opinion and interpretation.

Our children must have their own testimony, their own story before they can have their own faith and their own victories. They must be free to live their life without interference, to be able to break free from that enmeshment before they can truly experience satisfying relationships, before they can experience God.

I am going to circle back around – think of Abraham – His story of faith inspires us today Think about how his story begins, in Genesis 12:
12 Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

This is a society in which sons added on to their parents house, it was unheard of for sons to leave home. (Parents received a dowry for their daughters and it was not so unusual for them to go a long distance from home, but sons usually stayed close and took care of their parents). What if Abraham’s parents had stood in the way of Abraham following God? What if he had to settle for their blessing and missed the BLESSINGS of God?

And what about the parents? I’m betting that when parents let their children follow God, God provides and blesses them as well.

The kingdoms built by man have a limited a lifespan, only the kingdom of God endures forever.

Deeper Still:
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them. Psalm 103:17-18
13 He will bless those who fear the Lord,
Both small and great.
14 May the Lord give you increase more and more,
You and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 115