I heard a story recently by Pastor Rickie Rush who is the creator of the POT BOYS Conferences.  If you’re confused like I initially was, that’s P.O.T. as in “Parents of Teenage Boys”.  His passion in life is to help teach parents how to raise their children to be outstanding adults.  His focus is on teenage boys and guiding parents to “raise their cubs to be kings.”  What a great ministry and one I wish I’d known about back in the 90’s when we were trying to raise our two sons.  Teenagers are definitely a challenge!  Pastor Rush inspired me and got me thinking about my own failures as my sons were growing up.

As parents we have all berated ourselves wondering if we did the right things raising our kids, especially as we continue to have problems with them even when they’re in their 20’s, 30’s, or older.  Pastor Rush spoke about when he himself was feeling bad about his own daughter’s choices and feeling he had failed as a father.  God spoke to him one day and told him the following story…….

“There was a man who was a single parent and he was a perfect father.  Now you might say there are no perfect fathers, but this guy was; he was a perfect father.  This single dad had two kids and both of his kids had a perfect environment.  Of course people say, there are no perfect environments, but this really was a perfect environment.  And in this perfect environment his two kids messed up.  They both messed up so bad that he actually had to kick them out and it was heartbreaking.  You have probably read this dad’s book – it’s the Bible and I’m the perfect Father,” God said.  “Even though my two kids, Adam and Eve, had this perfect environment and they didn’t wander off looking for trouble, the enemy came into their backyard.”  God told Pastor Rush, “If you can do a better job with your daughter than I did with my two children then maybe we should trade places.”

Wow!  Pretty impactful story, right?  The bottom line is that it’s not always the fault of the parents because ultimately, as children grow up, they make their own choices.  It’s not always about ME as a parent.

As I thought more about this story it led me to think “what if we put the shoe on the other foot”, so to speak.  What about my own parents and the choices they made that then impacted my life?

I grew up with a lot of turmoil and abuse in my childhood and spent most of my 20’s and 30’s in a strained relationship with my mother and a non-existent relationship with my father, who wasn’t around.  During the course of my childhood my mother married a total of six times.  All of these men were abusive to me and my siblings in various ways including physically, sexually, and emotionally.  I would like to note here that I was able to forgive my mother completely several years ago and we have a good relationship now.  However, as a young adult I spent much of my time not respecting her, not speaking to her, judging her, and feeling like I hated her.  I felt that because of her, I was living with shame, guilt, fear, anxiety and out-of-control emotions and it showed in every area of my life.

There came a point though, in my early 40’s that God started speaking to me to forgive my mother.  I had been reading the Bible fairly often and praying for healing in my life.  I was tired of my self-destructive ways and damaged relationships.  I had decided to do a study on Forgiveness.  I needed to forgive my mother and father and myself.  It was during this time that God gave me a revelation.  I suddenly could see my mother for who she was – a child that God dearly loved, but someone that had been abused herself as a little girl.  Her own abusive childhood had caused many weaknesses and failings in her as an adult.  God led me to see that all of the bad choices my mother had made when I was growing up weren’t choices my mother made to hurt me, or abuse me, or abandon me.  It hadn’t been about ME.  She simply was trying to cope with her own pain and dysfunction and didn’t realize the emotional damage she was inflicting on her children, just as I didn’t when I made my own bad choices as a young mother.

Once God opened my eyes and this reality sank in, I was able to completely forgive my mother and myself and start the healing process to go forward in my life in God’s power and not my own.

I made the decision and choice to give up control of running my life and to turn it over to God for I knew that “Nothing is impossible with God.”  Luke 1:37.  I had certainly run into many “impossibilities” in my life trying to do it on my own.  I learned that God’s plans for us are better and higher than we could ever imagine on our own (see Isaiah 55:9), and that’s what I wanted; a better life – the BEST one I could live!

I hope today you can forgive yourself for any mistakes you have made along your way, and forgive your parents for any they made.  We all, ultimately, have to live our own life and learn to walk in the freedom that God promises us and not with the chains from our past wrapped tightly around us.  Galatians 5:1 says, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  If you keep your mind and focus on God and the continuous source of strength He provides for you I know you will go through the rest of your life in His awesome peace.  Hold on to His promises!

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake (abandon) you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8.





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