I did my best to respond in a loving, non-argumentative manner as Christopher continued to stage conversations of point and counter-point. He often accused me of shoving Christ down his throat, to which I would reply, "I have not once done that to you. I believe Christ died for my sins and rose again on the third day, but if you don't, you don't." And this seemed to settle him down. He appreciated my respect for his right to choose for himself, as teenagers have a special interest concerning their "rights."
I often told him that God does not want puppets without choices. He gave us free will and He delights when we choose Him. I simply refused to argue with my son.
What's a teenage boy to do with a mother who refuses to engage in a religious debate? Turn the Popsicle stick cross on the fridge upside down. And though it was intended to get a rise out of me, it didn't and today it's one of my fondest memories.
I never said a word to Christopher about that cross. I knew he turned it upside down each day. He knew I repositioned it right side up. A routine that stretched on for months. Meanwhile, storms were brewing. Just around the corner was a temper that would keep me on my knees for the remainder of his high school years. A multitude of prayers would be prayed, along with a lot of of asking for forgiveness for all the times I lost my temper over him losing his.
Spiritual warfare was in order. I knew I couldn't talk to him about the Bible. I also knew/know that the word of God does not return void. It was time to be stratigic.
I wrote Scripture on small pieces of paper and hid them in his room. Under his mattress. In his pillow. I wrote on the back of the canvas's that displayed his dark oil paintings. I even wrote on the bottom of his shoes.
When he went to school, I worshipped God in his room. At night, I slid an open Bible on his bedroom floor. He was surrounded by the word of God and had no idea. I prayed and I prayed, but by the time he graduated from high school, our relationship was so strained he would barely speak to me. Heart broken, I feared my efforts were for naught.
Flash forward: At age twenty-one, Christopher yielded to a mysterious attraction to the word of God. I'll never forget the day he asked to borrow my NIV Bible. He still doesn't attend church, but he reads his Bible everyday and freely receives my humble answers to his tough questions, which are welcome. And he gives.
Many Christians attend church every Sunday, but don't read their Bibles or part with a portion of their paychecks to help others. I'm so proud of my son. His brother, Matthew, is still finding his way. He is nineteen. I don't see him as often as I would like, but I believe in the power of prayer. It's easier now to place him in God's hands each day. I have since asked God's forgiveness for doubting the power of His word just because my son's "God search" didn't happen when I thought it should have.
So mamas, fight the good fight for your children! Prayerfully consider which Scriptures would be the best medicine and don't give up. "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (that's endure, not enable). Love never fails...." (1 Corinthians 13:7-8 NKJV)
I was in my thirties before I returned to Christ. And now look what I'm doing! Trust me, no one in my family saw this coming when I was a teenager.
"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11 NKJV)
Never underestimate the power of prayer. Who do you pray for?
Published on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 @ 9:16 AM CDT
Yesterday, my oldest son (now twenty-four-years old) was baptized! Please read a blog from my archives to witness just how far he's come by the power of prayer:
If you attended church or Vacation Bible School as a child, you are most likely the retired maker of crosses made from Popsicle sticks. Five years ago, my refrigerator proudly displayed such a cross. Zach, now ten years old, made it in Sunday school-- complete with magnet on the back.
I placed said cross on the upper right hand corner of a stainless steel billboard for all the world to see--or at least anyone who needed something from the fridge. It was purple, it was precious, and it was...UPSIDE DOWN! Who would do such a thing?!
Ahhh . . . Christopher. The oldest of Zach's two brothers, who just five years ago, was seventeen and very good at it. My older sons were not introduced to God when they were young. By the time I'd re-dedicated my life to Christ, they had formed some very worldly opinions about life in general. Beliefs they developed observinging me during their formative years. (I'm still waiting for a church to offer classes for that one.)
They didn't try to deter me from my new-found faith. They just didn't want anything to do with it. I never forced them to go to church. Instead, I faithfully studied my Bible morning after morning, and did the best I could to parent them God's way. I understood early on that I could not make my children love the Lord.
And that's the way it went for a long time. Until it didn't. Christopher was beginning to show signs of curiosity. Unfortunately, he didn't ask questions for humble answers. He asked questions to start arguments. In retrospect, maybe he was longing for some kind of outward display of the private battle regarding Christianity.
Read Part 2 tomorrow!
Published on Monday, April 23, 2012 @ 5:28 PM CDT