It wasn’t the proudest moment in my life when it came to my son. It was unthinkable. Unfathomable in my young adult, man-child’s life. I am not proud of it. It was the, “Isn’t that a little much, Mom?” moment. I did it. I became THAT MOM. The all-up-in-your-business, controlling, let-me-help you Mom. It was more than guiding. More than coaching. It became…I can’t believe I did that.
My young adult son, we’ll call him “Sonny Boy”, moved five states away to attend college and to continue playing his favorite sport-baseball. He drove out with a couple friends, which were the only two souls he knew. Sonny Boy was at a place in his life that needed some change. He was looking for something and wanted a change of scenery when it came to friends, influences, and you know, the worldly stuff that just doesn’t sit well within your soul.
So, Sonny Boy got all packed up and drove out to Missouri. I talked with him every day. Now, not all of those calls and texts were initiated by me, okay? I had been praying over this man-child of mine. Praying for godly friends, positive influences, for meaningful relationships with the guys on the team, and for him to get plugged in at the local church. But, was I really praying the right away?
This is where the “terrible-awful” came in the picture (you’ve seen The Help, right? Remember the “special” pie?) Okay, it wasn’t that bad but I overstepped my boundaries as a parent and dug my heels in a little to far when it came to my son and his life there. I Googled some churches in his area. You might think, “That’s not a big deal.” Oh, but let me tell you. I took it another step and actually reached out to one of the pastors, a college pastor, letting him know that I wanted to help my son get plugged in. Wait for it…I even gave him Sonny Boy’s phone number. And. He actually called him!
You can imagine how the next conversation with Sonny Boy went. This was the “It’s a little much, don’t you think, Mom?” I butted in. I took control. I took the lead on something I wasn’t intended to lead. This wasn’t setting up a play date for five year old Sonny Boy, this was the unthinkable for a 20 year old adult.
Why am I sharing all of this? I wanted to let you parents of young adult children know you are not alone if you’ve found yourself going a little too far when it comes to their life. Gosh, we just love them so much don’t we? We would walk through fire or walk across a bed of nails for them, right? Well, most of them anyway (enter a giggle here).
There comes a time when we have to give the fierce love of our children over to our Mighty God because our kids are really his. He’s got them and all that is going on with them in his hands. He really does. I may or may not have had a problem with giving that control over or fully surrendering Sonny Boy and his new adventure over to God.
I just started reading Stormie Omartian’s book, “The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children.” I have read the book about praying for your husband and also your children in the past. But…this is a game changer. A few pages in and I can hear Stormie telling me, “Tammy, you messed this up!”
I’d like to share a couple things that I’ve learned. Parenting never stops. We parents see things happening in our adult children’s lives and we want to help them. We ask ourselves, “Are we doing too much?” or “Are we doing too little?” (I am right there with you). We may have many concerns but that doesn’t give us permission to intervene, to call the pastor, or to find friends for our kids (Is that just me?). God knows the answer to both of these questions.
Friends, we have a beautiful opening to give all of our concerns, worries, suggestions, thoughts, and opinions to God, who knows it all and is in control of it all. Let’s invite Him into the struggle. Into the circle. When we fully trust that God hears our prayers and answers them, according to this will, on behalf of our adult children, it means our prayers can affect change in their lives, in powerful ways. I can honestly admit that I didn’t give all my worries to God, not fully. I think I was praying God to do what I wanted done. I didn’t even consider how big our God is, how powerful he is, and the fact that he loves our children more than we ever can.
Another little nugget I was reminded of was learning the difference between helping our adult children or enabling them.We need to let the Lord give us wisdom on this one. This one is hard. We love our children so much and want them to succeed but it is so difficult when we see them failing, isn’t it? Stormie says, “We all must ask God to show us what to do, and what not to do, for our adult children. We need to ask the Lord for clarity and discernment to know when to just pray and let Him work in their lives without any other help from us.” (Ouch. But, Stormie…) We can’t change our adult children, but God can. Friends, all we need to do is to love them, believe in them, and support them in prayer. And then we do whatever the Lord tells us to do, or not do, to help our children get back in the game.
I am right there with you, my fellow parents of Man-Children and Woman-Children. You know what the beauty is in this adventure we call parenting? We don’t have to do it alone. It takes a village to raise up our babies that are now adults. It takes a tribe. We are in this together. Please, first and foremost, I encourage you to go to God with all your worries, thoughts, and troubles. He hears you. Believe that he is working behind the scenes.
Second, band together with your parent friends and church friends of adult children. Get your posse together to pray, to listen (and please share the battles and the successes; even the little steps in the right direction. These are worth celebrating!) Let your people help you steer the ship on the restless waves of this parenting gig. You can do it. I’m cheering you on. I’m in your corner. I’ve got you. If I can pray for you in a specific way, send me a note.
Hugging you so tight,
If you’d like to check out Stormie Omartian’s book, “The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, ” click here. She has a ton of fabulous resources for men, women, everybody.