Give Me My Kid Back!

I’m not sure if it’s original to her or not, but a Facebook friend posted the following: “My child’s weaknesses are God’s glory in that He will make them stronger despite it, giving me the freedom to trust God as their Savior rather than trying to save them myself. Our children are children of God first, before they are our own. He adopted them first before we ever could!” This friend happens to be a mom to adopted children, but her words apply to biological parents like me and my wife. Our children belong to God first and foremost; He is their only true Savior and He loves them more than I can even imagine.
If your child has ever been extremely ill or has faced a life-threatening situation, perhaps you’ve sensed God asking you the question: “Whose kid is this anyway?” And you might give a sincere, if desperate, answer: “You’ve blessed me with this child to raise; he’s my child, God.” But then maybe God prompts you again to teach you the true secret to parenthood: “That’s true. But do you remember? When he was still a little baby? You gave him back.” Kelly and I did indeed dedicate our three children to God; ever since then, we’ve had multiple opportunities to surrender them to God again.
It’s so difficult not to want full control of our kids. And it’s so easy to live our lives as though our children’s experiences and emotions, the ups and the downs, the successes and the failures, are our own. I love it when my kids are happy and doing well; I absolutely hate it when they’re struggling and their hearts are breaking.
In the old Steve Martin movie, Parenthood, Martin’s character, Gil, is a dad who struggles (like all of us) with worries about his son. When his boy fails, he feels like a failure; when his boy succeeds, he feels like a success. In one particular scene, Gil is coaching his son, Kevin, in a Little League baseball game and a pop-fly comes Kevin’s way, while his dad, the coach, watches with great stress, hoping against hope that Kevin will catch the ball. Kevin does in fact catch the ball and later on, his dad puts the whole experience into perspective, from the fatherhood side of things:
Isn’t that demented, that a grown man’s happiness depends on whether a nine-year-old catches a pop-up? I mean, what if he missed?”
This is how I often live my life as a dad. But I gave my kids back to God, and I need to continue surrendering them day after day, year after year, as long as I have the privilege of raising and influencing them. I need to remember, as my friend pointed out, that “our children are children of God first, before they are our own. He adopted them first before we ever could!”
Troy Burns