"...it’s not my job to write my daughter’s future.
And it’s not her job to live up to my dreams for her."
I read that statement in a post on one of the blogs I regularly read... and it evoked a rather rabid love/hate response deep within my heart, enough so that I felt I needed to respond within the comment section.
Let me start off by saying that Mr Irwin's post was written in the context of discovering that one of your children has chosen to pursue a homosexual lifestyle - and that under those conditions, parents need to let go of the dreams they had for their child - dreams that centered on their son or daughter getting married to someone of the opposite sex, having children, raising a traditional family. It was disheartening to read the post and the comments section. Both clearly reveal the about-face many of those who self-describe as evangelical Christians have made regarding God's view of marriage as the basic building block of family, God's sovereignty over every aspect of their lives, and a blatant disregard for the Bible and its very relevant and pertinent application to lives today.
But first, here is my response:
Can I say that I both love and hate that statement at the same time...
because I both wholeheartedly agree and disagree at the same time? As a parent wanting to see my children grow up and love God with all their hearts, minds and souls and to love their neighbors as themselves, I think our "job" or "ministry" or "training" or "raising" of our kids involves at least two important aspects that directly relate to this question: 1) As parents we are to help train our children in the way that God wants them to go... or, in other words, help them to discern what God's dreams are for them and their future; and 2) in doing that, our own dreams for them will clearly "grow" or become more "defined" as will their own dreams for themselves.
The bigger question is am I willing to teach my kids to dream, to dream big and to work hard for that dream but to hold their dreams with an open hand if God begins to direct them to a different dream, or as they discover that perhaps their dreams are contrary to God's way... and to submit their ideas of what is best to God's revelation of what is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. The best way for me to do that is to model holding my dreams... for myself... and for them... with that metaphorical hand open and lifted up to God - and to submit those dreams to God's sovereignty and absolute right to our futures - whether we understand or not.
And that's where I totally agree with your statement quoted above. It isn't my job to write my children's futures - that belongs to God. It isn't their job to live up to my dreams for them. It is their privilege to be obedient and submit to the future and dreams God has for them - whether it matches up with what I thought, or what they thought... at first.
Let me re-iterate those last points ~
- God "writes" the futures of my children. He created them, He gives them every breath and heartbeat, He preserves their lives. They are His.
- My children are not responsible to live up to any dreams that I may have for them - but IT IS THEIR PRIVILEGE, by the power of grace, to be obedient and submit to the future God has scripted for them, regardless of what they feel they want their futures to look like.
That future that God scripts will never include something that violates God's Word or His holy nature.
If my child chooses to pursue such a path - it isn't my job to change them. It certainly isn't my job to try and convince them to go back to those dreams and imaginings I had of them and what their lives (and mine, as a result) might be like.
It is, however, my job to continually, unceasingly point them back to the One Who will teach them to discern sin and false teaching, empower them to change and walk away from it... and Who will grace them with His strength to righteously live with any "thorn" He has given.