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Focus on the Family Broadcast

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Trusting God With Your Adult Child

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Trusting God With Your Adult Child

On this Best of 2019 broadcast, author Jodie Berndt offers encouragement to parents who worry about their adult child and guidance for how they can entrust their child to God through prayer.
Original Air Date: February 1, 2019

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

On this Best of 2019 broadcast, author Jodie Berndt offers encouragement to parents who worry about their adult child and guidance for how they can entrust their child to God through prayer.
Original Air Date: February 1, 2019

Episode Transcript

Teaser:

Woman #1: I prayed most for my adult children, that they would follow hard after Christ no matter what circumstance comes into their life.

Woman #2: Though my children were raised in a Christian home, they’ve wandered away from the Lord, And my prayer for them is that they would come home to the Lord.

Man #3: For my son, who’s 19, I pray every day that he keeps his eyes focused on the Lord, that he remembers that the Lord is in charge, and that he – just that he could have direction.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Well, maybe you’ve prayed like that for your children, or maybe you were the reason your parents were praying that kind of a prayer. Today on Focus on the Family you’ll hear about the power of prayer, especially for your children as they become adults. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, Christmas always makes me feel a bit sentimental, and I start thinking about how fast my kids have grown up.

John: Yeah.

Jim: I mean they’re on their way. They’re launching. And in fact, when we recorded this program earlier this year, I was thinking about my oldest, who was moving out, packing up, and going off to college. Jean and I are so proud of our boys, but we were sure hitting our knees, particularly for Trent.

And John, you’ve launched several kids into adulthood. I’m sure you and Dena have done the same, right?

John: Yeah. In fact, this sounds odd, probably, but I think I pray more for my adult kids than I did when they were younger.

Jim: Interesting.
John: There…there are so many things going on. And they’re big things, right?

Jim: Yeah. And uh, you know, that’s the right thing. There’s more serious decisions that are gonna be made. They’re, you know, picking a spouse. Let’s just think of that one.

John: Um-hm.

Jim: Are you…and I still have that discussion with Trent and Troy… “When you’re thinking of a future bride, what are the elements you’re looking for?”

John: Yeah.

Jim: And you’re just waiting. “A Christian woman.” Thankfully, they do say that.

And our guest, Jodie Berndt, I just appreciate the fact that she was so open and honest about her fears for her adult children.

After we aired this program, we heard from hundreds of moms and dads who said that Jodie’s advice was “perfect timing” for them as they were struggling to trust God with the lives of their young adult children.

And we hear that so often, don’t we, John.

John: We do.

Jim: So many of you reached out to us that this broadcast became one of our Best of 2019 programs, which is why we’re sharing it again with you today!

John: Yeah. We had an overwhelming avalanche of response, as Jim noted. And that whole Best of collection is available on CD. It includes about a dozen other programs, as well. You can also get the download of that. Just check all the details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

And Jodie Berndt [BURN-dt] is an author, speaker & Bible teacher, and she’s written 9 books, many of them on the theme of prayer. And the one that we’re really centering in on today is called, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children: Trusting God with the Ones You Love.

And here’s how we started our conversation with Jodie, as Jim welcomed her to the studio.

Jim: Well, and it’s so good to have you here at Focus on the Family.

Jodie Berndt: Thank you.

Jim: Officially, welcome.

Jodie: Oh, it’s officially a delight…

(LAUGHTER)

Jodie: …To be here. Thank you so much.

Jim: And you’re coming in from Virginia Beach, one of our favorite places. That’s such a great area of the country.

Jodie: It’s a wonderful area. But I’ll tell you, so is this place.

Jim: Now, in the book, you refer to this parenting phase, which, again, I’m just about to experience…

(LAUGHTER)

…So, you’re teaching me along with probably thousands of others right now that have teenagers in the home still. But you kind of compare adult children to playing Whack-A-Mole.

Jodie: Well…

Jim: Now, I don’t – I feel like…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: …Teenagers are…

Jodie: I think…

Jim: …Are kind of whack-a-mole.

Jodie: You know, I think whack-a-mole could be at any phase.

Jim: Right.

Jodie: If – if you have more than one child, you’re playing Whack-A-Mole because as soon as you get, you know, one where you think, “Okay, we’re squared away, we’re on a good path,” you know, another issue pops up. And you just…

Jim: Right.

Jodie: …Spend your life whack-a-mole, but it’s okay.

Jim: Now, in that regard, you know, you think of the perfect parent.

Jodie: Oh, who is that?

Jim: God Himself.

Jodie: Okay, yeah, that’s good.

Jim: So, He had two children, and He seemed to have to play Whack-A-Mole as well when it came to Adam and Eve. I mean, describe that…

Jodie: All of us.

Jim: You talk about the formula.

Jodie: Well…

Jim: The Lord had it. He knew what was right for them…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …And they disobeyed Him.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s kind of the pattern when you’re a parent – you do feel a little more sense of where God was at, I think, with Adam and Eve…

Jodie: But you know…

Jim: …And humanity.

Jodie: …We get so much encouragement from the Lord and His parenting because, sure, just like Adam and Eve, we all stray, and our kids stray. And yet, we see God’s limitless love and that nothing we do can ever diminish that love for us. And I try to draw, you know, inspiration and strength for that as I parent my own children, saying, “Hey, don’t be surprised when they take a walk on the wild side, make a step here or there.” We all do. We’re all like that.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: But I want to be like the Lord and just love, love, love. And I love that He has – I say there’s not a need we’ll face in parenting or any of life that He hasn’t already experienced Himself and anticipated for us and provided for in His Word.

Jim: I want to move it that way because that’s where the nitty-gritty is. Uh, parents, you know, we have limited control and influence. I don’t know that we realize that. I think…

Jodie: Right.

Jim: …We come out of a period when they’re small that you do have a lot of influence and control…

Jodie: Yup.

Jim: .And then you want to exert that at 13, 14, 15 right when they’re trying to move…

Jodie: Right.

Jim: …Away from that control.

Jodie: Right. Right.

Jim: Describe that lack of…

Jodie: Well, I…

Jim: …Influence.

Jodie: …Love – actually, a friend sent me a poem just this week. And she said – um, I won’t quote the poem right – but the gist of it was, “When you were little, I, um, touched you, and I covered you with a blanket, tucking you in. Now you’re grown. You’re out of my reach, and I’m covering you with my prayers.”

Jim: That’s a good thing.

Jodie: And I just loved that image because if our kids are still in the home, they may still be out of our reach emotionally, psychologically. They might not want to hear what we have to say. And then they’re older – they might be physically out of our reach. But they’re never out of God’s reach. And I love that He invites us to partner with Him. You know, He – we know He’s sovereign. He’s got good plans, good purposes. But He wants us involved. And the way He invites us to partner with Him is through prayer.

Jim: Yeah. I’m thinking of some parents, not that I would ever do this, but you pray…

(LAUGHTER)

…About tucking in and all that.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: Then when they’re teenagers, you’re praying for that opportunity to lecture. “Lord, give me that chance to really lay it down…”

John: Set them straight.

Jim: “…For him.”

(LAUGHTER)

And, uh, I want to get to that part at some point, but – uh, because it is so easy for us to say, “Hey, this is the right thing to do.”

Jodie: Mmhmm.

Jim: “Can’t you see it? Why don’t you…”

Jodie: Right.

Jim: “…See it?”

Jodie: Right. And, you know, sometimes, don’t you think God says that to us?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Sometimes.

Jodie: Sometimes. Yes. Yes. But I just – you know, I love what, um, my friend Jeannie Cunnion – I think she’s been a guest on your show – she wrote Mom Set Free, and she has a line. She says, “We are significant in our children’s lives, but we are not sovereign.” And, you know, as parents, we beat ourselves up thinking, “Oh, I missed this opportunity, I didn’t do this right.” Or we might pat ourselves on the back if our kids do something well, and we think, “Yay us.” But in neither case do we deserve the blame or the credit. Our kids are individual people just like we are, and they’re gonna make their own choices. And we can be significant. We can pray. We can counsel. We can, as you say, pray for the opportunities for our kids to listen to us. Um, but doesn’t always happen, but we can’t carry that burden.

Jim: Yeah, it’s so true. You know, Jodie, what strikes me hearing it in that context – how prayer becomes almost an antidote to your worry, to your fears…

Jodie: Oh, gosh, yes.

Jim: …To your control.

Jodie: Absolutely.

Jim: If you can actually pray this way…

Jodie: Absolutely.

Jim: …It relaxes you in the relationship…

Jodie: Hundred percent.

Jim: …In a very positive way.

Jodie: Yes. I think that for parents, at least for me, and I would imagine for a lot of your listeners, when we find out something’s not right, going wrong, whether it’s the 6-year-old swiping the, you know, crayons or the 16-year-old experimenting with substance abuse, the 28-year-old falling out of his job, whatever, our default position can often be worry or fear or even anger. You know, “Grrrr, why are you doing that?”

Jim: Those are all good Christian attributes, aren’t they?

(LAUGHTER)

Jodie: Thank you. Yeah, I know. Well, but I think God would say, “You know what? Let me just tell you, I’m clueing you in. I’m letting you see what’s going on in your child’s life because guess what? I’ve got plans and purposes, and they’re good. And I want to work with you. I want to invite you into this partnership with me so that we can – you can pray, and I can answer, and we can work in your child’s life.” So instead of fear and worry…

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: …Our default position should be prayer and trust. It’s not for me all the time, but I’m trying to get there.

Jim: You know, and I need to ask this question now. I know we’re gonna cover more of this later. But the woman particularly, the mom…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …Who really struggles with that fear and control – and maybe they still have teenagers in the home, or maybe they’re just launched, and they’re out on their own now – but that fear and that control and that – how do you, as a mom particularly, Jodie, how do you pull back from that? Did you have this kind of, hey-it’s-in-God’s-hands attitude the whole time or with friends that you may know?

Jodie: That sounds kind of laissez-faire, the whole it’s in God’s hands. I didn’t…

Jim: Well, speak to that…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …That kind of thing.

Jodie: I didn’t have that. I will tell you though there were times with our children when I would get too weary or too discouraged to pray. I would think we’ve been walking through this particular season for a long time. I’m not seeing the needle moving. Should I just – like, I told a story last night. I was speaking to a group. I said, “Our son, there was a season where I just wanted to buy him a pack of cigarettes, put him out on the street corner” because I thought that’s gonna save us all a lot of worry, he’s gonna wind up there anyway, let go.

(LAUGHTER)

And yet…

Jim: We do not advise that.

Jodie: No, I wouldn’t either.

(LAUGHTER)

Jodie: But that – but I share that to just show kind of that’s how I felt.

Jim: Yeah, you were…

Jodie: I was…

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: …Discouraged. And that’s where I think you mentioned the community of parents. I – I was part of a Moms In Prayer group. And those women stepped into the gap for me. They said, “You know, we’ll take that up. We will pray for your son.” And they did that for our girls, too, and other things. And I did that for them. Because kind of like, you know, the story Moses, when the Israelites are fighting down in the valley, and Aaron and her have to come alongside and hold up his hands because when his hands are up, the Israelites are winning, and when they fall down, they are losing the battle. And so, the other guys come along, and they hold up his hands, and the victory comes. And I think that we need that with these other friends – prayer partners. And they don’t even have to be your – your social best friend. They don’t even have to be just like you, but someone who will lift up your children. Um, and that’s getting back to your point of the community. One of the reasons – I did a study guide for the adult children book. It’s available free download on my website at jodieberndt.com. And one of the reasons I did that is I wanted to give parents a resource to say, “I’m gonna grab a friend or two, and I’m gonna go through some of these prayer needs, work through the Scriptures together so that I can support my friend and her children, and she can do that for me.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: ‘Cause I think we really need that.

Jim: Well, it’s so good. And I think it helps to relax the fearful heart.

Jodie: Yes.

Jim: I mean, that’s…

Jodie: Yes.

Jim: …I think the key benefit.

Jodie: Yes.

Jim: You learn that others are struggling…

Jodie: Mmhmm.

Jim: …Through those kind of…

Jodie: Right.

Jim: …Difficulties…

Jodie: And they can…

Jim: …Or maybe things that are…

Jodie: …Reorient you.

Jim: …More severe.

Jodie: You know, they can – they can say, “Hey, let’s do a little perspective change. Let’s get God’s word in there.”

John: And we’re talking to Jodie Berndt on Focus on the Family. Your host is Jim Daly, I’m John Fuller.

And Jodie’s book is Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children: Trusting God with the Ones You Love. And you can get that from us here at Focus on the Family as you donate. Our website – focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Jodie, um, let’s get to it. Describe, uh, what a prayer blessing sounds like for our adult children. Um…

Jodie: Okay, I love that you say ‘prayer blessing’ because one of the things I think people who have adult children sometimes face is…

(LAUGHTER)

…Um, “I’m not sure I like the choice my child has made.” You know, kids don’t come to adulthood the same way we do – all those traditional markers of go to school, get a job, find a place to rent, find someone to marry, get a home, you know, all those – they do things differently, out of order, they skip some steps. They make choices that we might not always agree with. And yet, as we pray for our kids, I think we can also bless them. We don’t have to agree with everything they’re doing. Just say, “I bless you.”

Jim: Right.

Jodie: You know and pull some of those blessings out of Scripture. Our family loves the number six one – “May the Lord bless you and keep you. Make His face shine on you.” And there are so many others. I do a whole chapter on blessing. But, um, because a blessing is not the same thing as an endorsement.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: You know, it’s not saying, “Get on you, roger that, way to go and, you know, your life is sin.” It’s not that. It’s just saying, “I’m forecasting God’s favor over your life. I’m speaking favor over your life. I’m opening the door so God can work these blessings and provide them in your life.”

John: Hm.

Jim: Now, how does a parent overcome the obvious…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …And still pray in a positive…

Jodie: Well, I love…

Jim: …Way?

Jodie: …That question because it really gets to the heart of what this is all about. And as I interviewed parents for the book and hearing their stories, there were a lot of folks whose kids were walking a very tough road – um, sexual sin, uh, faith crisis, walking away, prodigal children, all of that. And these parents cried out to the Lord. And it was very interesting because it was almost like, you know, I could have put them in a soundproof booth where they didn’t know what each other was saying, but a refrain that I heard over and over again was as they took those fears and those worries to God and said, “What do I do?” What they felt like the Lord said to them was, “Love them. Love your kids.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: “They know what they’re doing’s wrong. You’ve spent, you know, years lecturing them, teaching them, trying to plant God’s word and His commands. They know. You don’t have to remind them of that. You’ve got to love them and pray for them. And trust me to work in their lives.”

The prayer verse I have hung onto in my adult children parenting more than any other is Philippians 2:13 and that’s where, uh, Paul says that it’s God who works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose. The NLT translation – new living, I think – says God energizes us to do and desire that which pleases Him. And I have prayed that. I’ve said, “Lord, my kids are doing this or that. It’s not lining up with what I think is Your best plan. So, would You energize them…”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: “…To do and desire that which would please You?”

Jim: You know, and it… this is the right thing. You’re saying the right things. You’re living the right things in that regard. I believe in the book you share a story about a friend who maybe is part of that group you’re referring to, but they were livin’ what I would say is a real-world example where their daughter was cohabiting with…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …The boyfriend.

Jodie: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: And that – um, here’s a shocker to all our Christian parents. That is a normal issue now. We hear about that here at Focus…

Jodie: Oh…

Jim: …On the Family.

Jodie: …Hundred percent. I had people read the book and say, “Wait a minute. Aren’t you worried you’re going to offend readers because everybody is cohabitating now and that’s wrong, you know?” And – and I had to think, well, you know, my understanding of Scripture is…

Jim: Right. I mean…

Jodie: …Sex outside of marriage is not a happy thing.

Jim: Well…

Jodie: …You know, it’s that simple.

Jim: …And that proves a point that we, as parents, are having to even teach at that level that something so fundamental…

Jodie: Right. Yeah.

Jim: …That we think is…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …Understood.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: But – but speak to this friend’s experience because I think it…

Jodie: Oh, I…

Jim: …Helps to…

Jodie: …Just…

Jim: …Prove the point.

Jodie: I absolutely love this sweet mom. She was so vulnerable and willing to share her own heart because she said she was praying and praying and saying, um, “God convict ’em. Let ’em know what they’re doing is wrong. You know, show ’em. Show ’em from Your Word. Bring people into their lives to tell ’em that’s not Your best plan” – on and on, you know, prayer warrior mom.

Jim: Which is a natural response.

Jodie: Well…

Jim: May I defend that?

Jodie: Oh, well, yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Jodie: But I’ll tell you the Holy Spirit spoke to her and just said, “Stop.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: “They know that. Why don’t you pray, Mom, that they would see My love” – you know, Romans tells us God’s kindness leads us to repentance. And so, for her, that was like an exhale, that was like an ability to let go and just say to the Lord…

Jim: Yeah, let me go deeper with that because this is a topic for me that really, in the parenting area particularly, I’m trying to communicate consistently, whether the book, A Good Dad, I wrote or others…

Jodie: Right.

Jim: And I get criticized for this, but it’s this idea that God actually is in control…

(LAUGHTER)

…And that you’ve got to…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: In some ways, you have to relax.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: I guess it’s a boundary question…

Jodie: Right.

Jim: …I’m asking you.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: When is it laissez-faire…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …As you referred to it early…

Jodie: Right.

Jim: …Where you’re too passive?

Jodie: Right.

Jim: And where’s that healthy line to say, “You know what? We need to accept that God is shaping our child.” And I would suggest for all of us worried parents that oftentimes, um, children, even adult children, are shaped in the valleys, not on the mountaintops. I know…

Jodie: Amen.

Jim: …That’s true of my own life.

Jodie: Amen.

Jim: I learned more when I was…

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: …Hurting than I…

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: …Learned when I was on the mountaintop…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …Dancing.

Jodie: Yes.

Jim: You seem not to have an open ear at that point.

Jodie: No, you’re right.

Jim: But when you’re crushed, like the Scripture says, “He’s close to the brokenhearted, saves those who are…”

Jodie: Right.

Jim: “…Crushed.”

Jodie: Right.

Jim: Um, speak to that issue and how we need to…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …Have a little more confidence as parents that it’s okay for our kids to be in a valley.

Jodie: It is okay for them to be in a valley. I wish I had a secret formula for knowing, you know, when to step in and when to sort of step back. I don’t know the answer to that other than maybe to look at the motivation. You know, are you trying to correct a child’s behavior because you think it reflects on your parenting? Or are you trying to bring glory to God in and through their lives? And…

Jim: Is there a quick test for that…

(LAUGHTER)

…Where you can say…

Jodie: Wouldn’t that be great?

Jim: …”Okay, which one is it…”

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: “…Lord?”

Jodie: You know…

John: I think it’s…

Jim: Just answer…

John: …Probably the former most of the time…

Jim: Answer these…

John: …Right?

Jodie: It really is.

Jim: …Three questions…

Jodie: Really, it…

Jim: …And you’ll know.

Jodie: …Would be so good. It would be such a good test. But, yeah, so I think, you know, some of it we have to examine our own hearts of what are we trying to accomplish here? Um, but then keep going back to the Lord to just say, “You know, I trusted You with this, uh, yesterday, but I’m gonna have to trust You with this again today.” And that was a great thing God taught me when I thought I was trusting Him and outcomes were not happening like I desired. And I kind of took that up with Him. I said, “What the heck? This child is doing this. This child’s doing that. And that’s not what I prayed and not what I thought You had promised.” And God said, “You’re not trusting in Me. You’re trusting in an agenda. You’re trusting in an outcome.” And I had to really step back and go, “Oh, He’s right.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: So, I need to, um, re-examine my heart and say, “What am I looking for – a result or a relationship?” You said earlier, His presence in the valleys – and if His presence are with our kids in that dark place, what a blessing.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: You know, He’s gonna be wooing them.

Jim: It’s so true. Um, you, in fact, had a story where you’re concerned about your son, where he was not, uh, handling anger well.

Jodie: No.

Jim: And that…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: You know, a lot of boys struggle with that.

Jodie: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: But how did you – what did you see? And how did you pray? And then what did the Lord do with all of it?

Jodie: Oh, all good questions. Um, our son is named Robbie, and, um,

Jodie: …every December, we’d pick a prayer verse for our children for the year – for the coming year – um, what I think God might want to do in their lives. And that year – I don’t know – he was maybe five or six – I picked Proverbs 23 verses 23 and 24. And I prayed, “Father, help Robbie get wisdom, discipline and understanding. Let him be the righteous man who brings joy to his parents, the wise son in whom we delight.” And I’ll tell you, God didn’t answer that the next day or even the next week. But over the course of that year and then in the years following, we saw a shaping take place. And it wasn’t a spotless journey. He got ejected from a lacrosse game as a 9-year-old, you know. But as I look at him now as a 22-year-old young man, I see composure, I see wisdom, I see self-discipline. It’s not perfect, but God’s done that.

Jim: You know, Jodie, another issue that parents and adult children need to work through is the boundary issue. I’m not there yet. John, you’ve hit it. But you don’t want to be the ugly in-laws, right? You – you…

Jodie: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: You know, so how do you stay on the peripheral…

Jodie: Right.

Jim: …Without overdoing it?

Jodie: Yes. Oh, well…

Jim: How do you manage that balance?

Jodie: Well, we had two of our daughters got married within four months of each other. And I realized my prayers were gonna have to shift from praying for her, our daughter, to praying for them. And it was kind of funny because – I tell this story in the book – with our daughter Annesley, Robbie and I consider her our best work, um…

(LAUGHTER)

Jodie: …In that – in that…

Jim: You take pride in her.

Jodie: …You know, she’s just organized, and she’s squared away. She holds the passports when we travel. And so, I…

Jim: Oh, man.

Jodie: I just thought we were giving her husband a gift. Um, well, they got married, and I realized he’s more organized than she is. You know, his style of housekeeping makes hers look like she’s wanted by the FBI – you know, she left…

(LAUGHTER)

…In a hurry. And we thought, “Oh, we’re giving him this squared away child.” And I realized I needed to start praying that he would have patience with her – which is not something that would have ever been on my radar.

Jim: Really the opposite?

Jodie: Yeah. And so, God kind of began to show me things I could pray, not just for her and not just for him – and my daughter Hillary’s marriage as well – but for them – that their communication styles would be edifying to one another, that they would be good listeners, that they wouldn’t interrupt. In our family, interrupting’s like a legitimate communication style. But for these young men, they weren’t used to being interrupted all the time, and we had to pray through that, so…

Jim: Sure. I’m just sitting here laughing because I’m thinking of – you know, it’s not necessarily healthy that they have a perfectly clean house.

(LAUGHTER)

Jodie: No. No.

Jim: That could be a little bit of a…

Jodie: Absolutely. And they don’t, you know.

(LAUGHTER)

She would say, “We don’t.” But anyway, it’s been…

Jim: That’s good.

Jodie: …Great to watch God meld them…

Jim: Yes.

Jodie: …You know, knit them together so that they each really do – like the Proverb says – iron sharpening iron.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: They’ve got that relationship now.

Jim: Jodie, I was really intrigued by the distinction you make between destination prayers, which to me is we’re going to Disneyland, we got a problem…

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: …Versus process prayers – how do we get ready to go to Disneyland? Uh, what’s the difference in those two prayer types?

Jodie: Well, I think it’s really helpful, as we pray for our kids, to, um, yes, realize that there are gonna be day-in, day-out issues they face – you know, are they going to make this team, get cut from this team, get into this college, not, you know, marry this person, not? But we want to look at and pray with the ultimate destination in mind – that God would be glorified and that our children would have a saving relationship with Him. Third John – I think verse 4 – says, “I have no greater joy than that my children are walking in the truth.” And as parents, if we wrap our joy up in an earthly success or a temporal victory, that’s okay, but it’s not gonna give us the peace and the lasting satisfaction as if we know our children are walking in the truth.

So if we keep that destination in mind, I think we can pray – and like you said, our kids sometimes learn, just like we do, in the valleys – that can allow us to watch them go through a hard time and say, “All right, maybe God is using this season to bring them to that ultimate destination, that saving relationship with Him, that place where God really is glorified in their life.” And it might not be a fun walk the whole way. But destination keeps us able to trust, I think, and keeps us able to have joy even when things aren’t looking exactly like we would design or desire.

Jim: Jodie, man, this has been so good. And, you know, I haven’t set this up, John, honestly just because, uh, my two boys are coming to the end of their time at the house, but…

Jodie: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: …The timing could not be better.

John: It’s really good timing. Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: It was really good timing and very insightful things – just that ability to, in a very straightforward way, to relax, uh, not to the point of being disconnected…

Jodie: Right.

Jim: …But relax that the Lord has this.

Jodie: Yes.

Jim: Even if the signs in the immediate are not there…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …Keep praying. Pray over your children. And, uh, I think what I’ve heard from you today is you’ll be amazed at what it does to your heart…

Jodie: Absolutely.

Jim: …As mom and dad…

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: …Not just for the kids’ benefit.

Jodie: Yes. Yeah, I really…

Jim: And that is really good.

Jodie: It’s a beautiful thing that God invites us to partner with Him in this parenting journey. Um, I love when the apostle Paul says to the Corinthians, “Yeah, we were – you know, all these bad things happened to us – shipwrecks and beatings. We despaired beyond life itself.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: But in The Message translation, he says to the Corinthians, “But your prayers are part of the rescue operation.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: And I feel like that with our kids, too, when God says, “You know, your prayers make a difference; they really matter.” And the other thing I love and I would love for your listeners to take hold of is that God sees. You know, He is a father. I love Hosea 11 in Scripture where we see His father heart so deeply, where He says, “When you were a child” – Israel – He’s talking to Israel, but He might as well be talking to us – He says, “I bent down to feed you. I lifted you up. I carried you.” And you just see that tender father heart.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: And then He says, “But you walked away. You went after other gods. You rejected me.” And as parents, we know what that feels like. And yet, that tenderness of God saying, “I did that, and you left” – and God says, if you read Hosea 11, that His anger is aroused – He realizes that’s not the best plan for these people – but so is His compassion. He says, “I will have compassion on them. I will roar, and I will draw them home. And I will settle them.” And I think we can know that He’ll do the same thing for us. He sees. He knows what we’re going through. And yet, He’s never gonna stop pursuing our kids. I love that – Hannah Whitall Smith, she says, “They’re not lost, they’re simply not yet found.”

John: I love that reminder from our guest that even when our children grow up they are never out of God’s reach.

Jim:     Yeah, me too. And I’d imagine there is a parent, or many parents, listening who really need to hear that assurance today. Maybe their adult child isn’t with them this very Christmas—there’s an empty seat at the dinner table and an empty place in that mom or dad’s heart. We get that.

If that’s you—if you’re hurting this Christmas, please, contact us here at Focus. We have caring Christian counselors who would be honored to pray with you and help you find resources for yourself and your adult child.

John: And you can get in touch with our counselors – schedule a consultation with them, or just find resources when you’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or, call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Now I also want to recommend you get a copy of Jodie’s book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children: Trusting God with the Ones You Love. Get it for yourself, or for the parent in your life who you know is struggling with that adult child!.

If you can partner with us financially and give a donation of any amount, I want to send you a copy of Jodie’s book as our way of saying thank you for being here with us in ministry. Or, if you can’t afford it, ask anyway—I’m counting on the fact that others will cover the cost of that.

John: Yeah. And your monthly pledge or one-time gift makes a great difference in how we plan ahead for 2020 ministry, so please donate today, as you can, by calling 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or click on the book cover at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: John, before we close, would you please consider joining our team of donors. Right now, when you give, you gift will be doubled through an incredible end-of-year matching gift opportunity. And if you’ve been feeling a tug on your heart to give, but haven’t yet– please, make today the day you give the “Gift of Family.”

John: And again, our website is focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Well, coming up next time, a heartwarming series of memories from listeners like you about the holiday season…

Teaser:

Listener: My grandfather gave me the greatest gift that Christmas. He gave me the gift of giving. And after all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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