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@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When we brought our first boy home, I had no doubt we could be the perfect parents for him. God had given him to us, hadn’t He? Of course we could parent him. And train him up in the ways of the Lord. And get him to follow Jesus whole-heartedly. All before he left the house some eighteen years later.

I knew God figured into the equation, but in my naive, new-mom mind, I hadn’t thought through just how much I would need Him in parenting a boy, then two, who are . . . human. 

And adopted. 

And unique individuals.

hiking with boys

When our kids are young, it’s easy to guide them. They trust our thinking and leading. We do our best to train them in basic living skills. To help develop a good character. They want to please us, their parents. 

As they begin to reveal their unique selves somewhere in the toddler years, we gain glimpses into who God created them to be.

Our boys have strong wills, but we didn’t realize just how strong until they hit about ten years of age. 

Okay, our younger boy . . . we knew he was a strong-willed chap. He made that clear almost as soon as we brought him home. 

But, we’d read books. Prayed over these boys. Sought guidance from those who went before us. We knew we could love them without fail.

hands fingers intertwined1

Parenting is so much harder than I envisioned the first day we carried our oldest boy into our home, crying, hungry, and tired.

The thing is, the older our children grow, the more independent they become. They will make choices that we disagree with. That break our hearts. 

It’s as they’ve grown older that I’ve seen how desperately we need our heavenly Father to shape Hubs and me into the parents our boys need.

peter running freedom

We’ve grown right along with our children, in character and wisdom. I’ve never prayed for anyone so much as I’ve prayed for our boys.

As we seek to equip them for the time when they leave our home and venture into adulthood and living in this world, I understand that I can’t do anything good without our Father’s help. 

I can’t make them accept Jesus. 

I can’t make them turn their backs on the lure of an enticing, visually-stimulating world. 

I can’t make them choose Jesus over the world.

All I can do is pray. Like. Crazy. 

cross on the mountain

Because as much as Hubs and I’ve tried to instill into their tender minds and hearts the truths of Jesus and His love for them? We cannot force them to accept His gift of love and abundant life. 

They must come to that decision on their own. 

They’re going to fumble it. 

Falter in deciding what they truly believe. 

Let’s face it. There’s a world out there that wants to devour our children. To lure them to the very real “dark side.”

There’s also a God who loves them passionately, perfectly, and completely. Even when they fall short. Deny Him. 

Even when they choose the world over Him. 

hands held 1
Our heavenly Father—the only perfect Parent—knows they’re going to do this. That they will stumble as they learn to define and walk out faith. And still, He loves them. 

I’m learning how to live in the truth that my role is to teach our boys about Jesus and living for Him. 

My role is to pray diligently for them. To be there when they want to talk. 

My role is to love them well.

our way of loving our children copy

Because it’s Hubs’ and my way of loving our children that will shape their understanding of God’s love for them.

God’s role is to quicken their hearts to His Spirit. 

His role is to work in their lives in ways I can’t. To open the eyes of their hearts to the reality of who He is. 

God has given us these two amazing boy-men, not so that we can be the perfect parents for them. Rather, so that we can be His tools to love them and point them to Him. 

aspen lined path

He’s given them to us so we can see our incredible need for God to be our Father in the journey of parenthood and life.

And we will only see this when we seek God first, asking Him to give us what we need to parent them well. 

What about you? What big lessons have you learned in parenting your children? What is one way you have seen God’s love for you?

Click to Tweet: It’s as they’ve grown that I’ve seen how desperately we need our heavenly Father to shape us into the parents our children need.

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory and Holley Gerth

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