And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15 KJV)
For several years I have really struggled in my heart with how my children have chosen to live their lives.
We tried to raise them to love Jesus. We tried to raise them to serve Him. One by one, they grew up and walked away from Him. And my heart was broken. I questioned myself. I questioned my Hero. I questioned my faith. I even questioned God sometimes.
Others questioned us. Some who I believed were friends we're harshly judgemental. One man said, "There's obviously a leadership problem in the home." I understand the questions, but the barbs thrown our way only increased the pain we were already feeling.
For almost 10 years I have prayed and prayed and begged God to show me where I failed. Repeatedly, He has given me the same answer. It all comes down to a choice.
My children chose to walk away.
I know that in my head. Adam and Eve walked with God himself every evening and yet, when the devil presented a choice that appealed to the flesh, they chose that over the fellowship with God. It was a choice.
Moses saw God face to face and talked to Him. But when Moses got angry, he chose to disobey God and smite the rock. It was a choice.
I know we didn't do everything right in raising our children. But I also know that if we had, they still may have chosen to walk away.
Years have passed and some of my children have spoken to us of returning to church. Some of them have even begun to attend church again. I don't think any of them would tell you today that they hate God. That wasn't the case not so long ago.
For me, I realized I had a choice, also. I could embrace my grief and get lost in my questions and become of no use to God. Or I could choose to continue praying for my children and entrust the outcome to Jesus. Most of the time, I choose the latter. Every once in a while, I realize I'm choosing to wallow. I have to continue to choose to trust.
P.S. I love all of my children fiercely and I hope if they read this, they know my heart. Each and every one of them has had struggles that most people never face. It has been hard for them. I don't know if I gave them the tools they needed to face the storms. I hope even when things are the darkest they know they have parents who love them greatly and are praying for them daily. And I hope they choose to remember that Jesus loves them.