I pride myself on my self-reflection. I think it is a valuable tool that allows me to grow in my areas of weakness. This is more easily done when dealing with how I handle situations in my personal and professional relationships, and it proved to be invaluable when dealing with myself overall.


For the last few months, I have been sharing my struggles about life as a parent of non-minors, and my final confession was that I was devastated when I finally realized  my children were not going to be who I wanted them to be. I spent my life and living in a way that I truly wanted my boys to see and mimic; and when they did not, I viewed myself as a failure. I experienced a hurt and a disappointment that stripped away so much of who I was that I was left raw in ways I did not know was possible. I pushed away and avoided friendships that were near and dear to me in an effort to hide what I had become. I was angry with God and did not even want to talk with him about it. But our God, in all His compassion, met me where I was and patiently waited for me to bring my pain into the holy place and willingly share it with Him.  It was not easy and it took me months to finally crawl into my Father’s lap and share my pain with Him. Once there, I was able to look at things more objectively and understand why my boys’ choices for their lives were such a blow to me. Some of the truths I had to deal with were harder than others.

First, like so many of the obstacles I have faced as an adult, the root went back to my childhood. I was such an obedient kid where my parents were concerned, I simply did NOT do things they did not want me to do. Because of my obedience, I honestly expected my boys to do the same thing. I never even prepared for the alternative - that my boys would choose to engage in behaviors that I did not engage in or approve of.

I KNOW, how arrogant of me, but I put forth that it was not my arrogance but my naivety. The funny thing about all this is because I was so obedient, I was so unprepared for so many social situations as I got older. I was socially awkward and painfully shy.


Another truth that I knew, but did not truly understand, was that the choices I have made for my life, like serving God and trying to live a life from that perspective, are choices I should have made ONLY because I love Him. This has taught me so much about what loving someone unconditionally is truly about. Learning to accept my boys individually for WHO they are and learning to leave the judgment and disappoint out of it has been both hard and rewarding. It makes me reflect more of who my Father is.


The final truth is that my boys can become who I want them to be or they can become who God wants them to be. One of the things I often find myself doing is forgetting how imperfect I was, with the bad decisions I made and the roads I walked. Why is it that as a parent I expect my children to have a mistake-free life? A life where they make all the right choices and never have to suffer consequences of the choices they make. It is unrealistic of me to not only think that, but to put that unrealistic expectation on them.


Most importantly, I realized I could damage my future relationship with my sons if I did not step back and allow them to live their lives as they chose. Even in learning how to do that, I almost destroyed my relationship with Jordan. I learned that even saying the right thing the wrong way can be detrimental. I hurt him in ways that I can never take back. As a parent, I worked hard to protect my children and in the end to learn the extent of the hurt I inflicted was painful and hard to accept.


We all have a story and it unfolds and has twists and turns that we cannot predict or plan for, but the only thing that matters is who we are in Christ. I have provided my children a solid foundation, which is all as a parent I can do. I have now created a safe place for them to come and talk to me about what is going on with them. They take advantage of that sometimes, and sometimes they don’t. What I have to make sure I do at all times is give them God’s truth. Not that they will always accept it, but truth is the only thing that will not change, and God’s truth will be their anchor.


Great Expectations
by Erica Simmons

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