The journals come in all sizes. Most have survived extremes. Dust and drought. Mold and humidity. It shows.
They hold my life records. The common, daily occurrences of a cross-cultural life. The ongoing spiritual battle.
And the struggles of our children in the midst of it all.
Constant illnesses. Anxieties. Hurt. Fears.
In dust and drought. Mold and humidity.
Crying out for wisdom
I read my desperate prayers for them. Crying out for wisdom.
It’s no secret on these pages. That without Him, I can do nothing. Without Him, I cannot navigate the hills and valleys of parenting.
The journals reveal life situations inherent to a move across countries and cultures. I can’t shield our children from the change and upheaval this brings.
The sudden loss of place. Or friends. The coming and the going.
And while we prepare as best we can, we can’t fully protect them from the heavy dark of lostness that weighs down and swirls about us.
The ways of the deceiver
I read their grief in ink on these pages.
Our firstborn’s expressive sorrow. Crying out her pain.
Our secondborn’s quiet tears. Flowing down her cheeks.
Our youngest. I see his expression in some of our pictures. See the sadness that I missed. When he was 4.
The deceiver has no qualms about striking the vulnerable. From their early years, he is compounding loss with anxious thoughts and deep down fears. Lies about who they are. And Whose they are.
We fail. He doesn’t.
As parents, we ask and listen. We hold and comfort. We pray and read the Bible. Sing and memorize the Truth with them.
We seek the help of those trained in counseling children.
But we fail. We’re impatient. We miss things.
Only the Lord sees the depths. The hidden hurts. Brokenness.
Only He knows the truest need. And can direct them in the path they should go.
Young adult children
All three have left home now. And are making their way in school and life and work. And faith.
I watch. Amazed by who they are and how they live. Their unique giftings and interests. Their stories.
And their hurts.
Embrace them, Lord
I remember pulling them into my lap when they were young. Tenderly holding them close.
So I pray.
Lord, embrace our young adults with Your Shepherd arms. Touch the broken places with Your healing power. Give their hearts rest in Your steadfast love.
You are their hiding place, their refuge. The One who never leaves them or forsakes them.
Teach them Your faithfulness
I remember leading them to say goodbye to the house and the yard and the familiar places. As we moved yet again.
So I pray.
Lord, teach them Your faithfulness. As You lead through change and upheaval and crossing cultures. The continual setting up and taking down of the temporary. In this momentary life on earth.
You are their Rock. Unmoving, always stable, steady, secure. Your Word supplies and strengthens their roots. Your Spirit equips and empowers the earthen vessels that they are.
A lasting journal
The ink in these journals will fade away. The paper will eventually fall apart. But the Spirit of the living God writes a lasting journal.
He writes Christ’s letter on the hearts of His people (2 Corinthians 3:3).
I’m watching and praying as He works His way in the lives of our children. And in us. Writing His Truth on our hearts.
In dust and drought. Mold and humidity. In the places of want and the places of plenty.
“For I was very glad when fellow believers came and testified to your fidelity to the truth—how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth.”
3 John 1:3,4
What about you?
How have you navigated the hills and valleys of parenting in the ongoing spiritual battle? Or perhaps you were a child who grew up in the thick of these things. What was your experience and how has He led you through it?