As a single mom of a 15-year-old son at home, I struggle with how to raise him to be a man. We have been blessed with God’s provision of a Christ-centered education. Additionally, God in his mercy and grace has provided some wonderful, godly men in his life. His Bible teacher, our church and youth pastors and some good godly friends have been graciously filling the gap of his not having an earthly father in his life. My son spent the summer babysitting for his younger niece and nephew while his sister and brother-in-law were at work; a month in an intense discipleship program in youth group; on a mission trip and serving in church, two services each Sunday. My son truly has a heart on fire for the Lord. God is his focus. This is God’s grace in reaching out to my son, and my son’s response for His gift of salvation.
Moses says in his prayer to the Lord in Psalm 90: “We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.8 You have set our iniquities before you,our secret sins in the light of your presence.9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.11 If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:7-12 NIV
In these passages I am reminded about what we deserved before we were given grace.
But what about me, what is my role? Was I treating him in a way that showed the model of Christ and how He treats His children? My son and I have always been close, but started to drift when I started lecturing him all the time about life, the world out there: how tough it was, how competitive. That only the top rung, so to speak ‘make it.’ I found myself lecturing him on the way to school every morning about the economy, the job market and how he had to get straight A’s to get a scholarship, to go to college in order to get a job which would afford him choices. Choices on where he could live, the choice to have a family some day if that’s what God had for him and such. I told him daily how hard life is, (out of the struggles of being a single parent), when I should been speaking to him of God’s faithfulness, power and grace poured out on us. I was not showing my son grace, nor my deep faith in realizing that God has always provided everything we needed.
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 NIV.
In these moments with my son, I realized I was focused on the ‘law’ and wanting my son to do all the right things, make all the right choices, getting caught up for a time in how ‘the world’ would judge as they do, any falling as indicative of our heart. Where would that have left King David, who with his heinous sins by social standards, was called a man after the heart of God or Paul the apostle who struggled with and commented in Paul’s case, of his depravity and acknowledged that without the Holy Spirit was guilty of doing that which he did not want to do and did not do things he ought. And here Moses too, speaking of what we all deserved and the fear we should have, if it wasn’t for the work of Jesus alone.
Moses goes on to petition God:
13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:13-17 NIV.
I could totally relate to Moses prayer here and found myself crying out the same to God. That without Him, this life is an affliction that I wish to be delivered from, but because of His unfailing love, and in answer to Moses’s prayer and ours, he has shown His deeds to his servants, and splendor to our children. He shows His favor through his son Christ Jesus and He establishes the work of our hands.
I asked my son to forgive me for losing sight for a bit, and letting the worries of this world derail me from what my son undoubtedly was resting in … Him. The student became the teacher here and my son showed himself the man I prayed he’d become in Christ. He graciously responded, “Mom, I’ve known you for a while now, and though you were overly tough, I know your heart was in the right place!”
Thank you Lord, that you made your perfect way to grow my son’s love and faith for you into a mighty armor of protection and wisdom where I can feel secure in the knowledge that he will always depend on you, and that you’ve got this! I don’t need to push him to be anything other than YOUR child, your vessel, your witness now. Thank you Lord for allowing me to not have to be perfect. That I can mess up royally, knowing you know me intimately and know my heart. That my failings and fallings don’t convict me, my heart does. Lord, may you find it pure, genuine and pleasing in YOUR sight. Thank you Lord Jesus for your love, and for my son. Amen
Sharon J. (guest on 66 Books)