FALSE EXPECTATIONS IN PARENTING
BY: SUNNY ORLY COFFMAN
FEBRUARY 24, 2004
Good morning, precious Sister!
Sunny here – responding to your heart’s cry! I so appreciate your sharing this current challenge with us. Thanks for the trust. As I write, I’m asking Father to take control of this message – that it might be from His heart – far more able to handle this challenge than me.
As a mother of two sons – about 5 and 7 yrs older than you’re own son – my emotional realm was greatly touched by all of your concerns. My husband will tell you that I had quite a cry yesterday when I read your e-mail. I was truly allowed to share in your present sufferings.
Not unlike you, I began to pray for godly daughters-in-law while my guys were still small. I didn’t really understand then what I see clearly today… I didn’t pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His Will to be done in each of their lives, as I would do today. I do believe all of that is happening, but it is His grace and mercy that has allowed it. Father really got hold of my husband and I and began to deal with us on how we’d been praying and directed us to only pray His Will over every situation instead of trying to manipulate Him into doing our will. We don’t yet possess the totally righteous judgment that He alone has. So, it’s TRUST TIME – time to take our hands off all these situations that we perceive as “EVIL” instead of “GOOD.”
I had wondered why I couldn’t write you last night. But this morning, I received a message sent by one of my friends in Ohio. I believe the ideas presented here in this message I’ve pasted below strike at one of the roots of our mis-thinking on many things:
“It was many, many years ago that I first heard a statement that I’ve often thought of. I can’t quote it verbatim. I’m not even sure it was really said. I heard it in the movie “Ghandi”. In the movie, the character, Ghandi, said that he would have become a Christian except for the acts, the behaviors, of the Christians. He did not want to be as we are… judgmental and critical – always pointing a finger instead of stooping to lift up another. What an indictment! If God made us in His image (and He did), and if His image goes deeper than skin deep (and it does), then can’t you agree with me that it’s time we, His chosen generation, begin to exhibit His character? It is a possibility! Jesus would NOT lead you astray! He said to the Father, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. (John 17:23 KJV) “
I now know that, for myself, I can no longer choose who I recognize as “brother.” “20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. 21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.“ Those words rang in my ears for years because I knew there were various groups of folks that I didn’t hate, but I sure didn’t want to be put into very close contact with them.
Well, God has His way of getting us opened up, purged and ready to receive whatever and whoever He wants to bring across our path so that He can function through us to pour out HIS love and meet the needs of this world around us.
Consider the possibility – however disgusting it may be to your flesh – that God has allowed your son to experience his present lifestyle for some purpose known only to Father, Himself, and that the end result of it all will produce “Good.” I know beyond all doubt that your son is a child of the most high God – El-Elyon – The Father of us all – and the one that brought this entire universe into being. I also know that HE loves your son in a way and to a degree that we will never attain while we are in these flesh bodies.
There has to come a time, as parents, that we know we’ve done all we can do to give our children the foundation we can provide through our own teaching, training, and equipping. It is at that point, that we must take our hands off completely and trust God with them from that point on. That doesn’t mean we cannot be counted on for advice, if we are asked. But SILENCE, aside from encouragement, is truly the healthy approach to an on-going relationship with our adult children.
Unfortunately many of us have been so insecure ourselves that we have found our own identity in the role of mothering or fathering and when our guidance is no longer received, we are bruised and either feel rejection or rise up in an attempt to defend our own position –
The past is over for all of us. We can’t change another person. We are helpless to do that because it was never our job in the first place. We are just responsible for our own actions – and we can’t even clean ourselves up. But in focusing in on the Father and allowing Him to have His way in us, individually, He will take up His residence within us and change us first and then work through us, both by His power and His example built into us, to impact the world around us. I don’t know why He chose this way to touch folks, but I do know He is trustworthy. He has given me lots of reasons through the years to totally TRUST Him in every area. He has never failed me… sometimes I thought He did… but time has always proven me wrong.
Most of us have all fallen into thinking “If I DO everything ‘right’, i.e., raise my child in church, fill him with the Word of God, be sure his associates are all ‘good’ folks, ‘walk the chalk line’ as a parent – then this equation will surely equal a + in my child’s behavior. He will grow up to be someone I’ll be proud of, successful in his business, successful in his own relationships, etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately, many, if not all, of our “goals” for them are PRIDE motivated. We don’t want to be confronted with what we have determined to be a “failure” in any area.
And then, one day we wake up to a realization that you have recently had to deal with… that no matter how many “i’s” you dotted – no matter how many “t’s” you crossed – this son has not ‘turned out’ the way you have judged to be “good.” and you’re stricken with guilt and condemnation – searching for answers to why this has happened – i.e. my husband drank, or wasn’t the ideal male role model – I didn’t DO enough of this, didn’t DO enough of that, or… if only I had done such and such, things would have been different…
I encourage you, in love, to lay down all that kind of thinking. CHANGE YOUR MIND – accept the fact that things have happened just the way they were supposed to happen and that it is not without plan and purpose. God doesn’t allow things to happen to His kids that will not ultimately be a benefit to His Kingdom. I know this is far easier to say than to apply – but our GOD IS LIGHT and in Him is no DARKNESS. I believe that if we expose ALL things to the LIGHT, the DARKNESS will be dispelled. As I write, I’m joining with you to lift your son up to the LIGHT and POWER of God – that TRUTH may be revealed in every area of his life. I ask the Father to help him be the OVERCOMER Father has chosen for him to become – to overcome every obstacle that has been put on his path and to be victorious in every area of his life.
Father, I’m asking you to reveal to my sister, TRUTH concerning Romans 8:1 – “Therefore There is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.” My friend, you are in Christ Jesus and you are a legal recipient of this liberty. Accept this provision that has been made for you – just for this very time such as you are facing right now. Drink in God’s forgiveness and His acceptance for yourself. Dare to believe that ALL that has happened has been part of HIS plan for your son and for you and even for your husband. I don’t claim to know details, but I sure do know HIS principles and that they always apply in every situation and that He is always working toward our greater goal.
I remember Father asking me to give HIM all my expectations. I never saw expectations as anything but a plus; but through my obedience to what HE was requiring of me, I saw my own perspective totally changed. Instead of continually being disappointed because my Sons were never filling my own emotional expectations, I found the greatest joy in the smallest show of thoughtfulness because I was truly expecting nothing at all.
You can be an instrument used by God for major turnaround in your own son’s life right now by receiving God’s grace appropriated for you in this situation, by laying down your own expectations of your son’s performance, and by receiving the Will of God and the Purpose of God for your son and for yourself.
And, above everything – your son needs your UNCONDITIONAL LOVE right now more than he has ever needed it. He needs the DOOR TO REMAIN OPEN so he can openly talk to you – free of judgments – free of condemnation – free of rejection. By being the loving, confidant that he can freely come to and speak his heart, you can be an instrument of healing in the hands of Father, for your son’s damaged emotions. By always having that listening ear, without emitting your own disappointments, God will work through you to bring liberty – to shed LIGHT abroad into your son’s darkness. Your bond with your son could be his lifeline to a lasting, meaningful, relationship with God – without ever having to speak anything spiritual to him at all.
I encourage you in this area, and stand with you, as you yield to God in this circumstance of your life. Remember, it is out of our greatest challenges that the greatest testimonies come forth!
I’ll continue to stand with you and lift your son to the Father. Feel free to write anytime and know that I truly care, but God cares even more!
Your sis in Dallas, Sunny O. Coffman
FALSE EXPECTATIONS IN PARENTING [Sunny Orly Coffman] 2-24-04 1