Tuesday Topic: Older Kids Struggling with their Faith

From Karen: Has anyone dealt with an older child who is struggling with or who has “tossed” his or her faith? How did you handle it? Do you have any advice or encouragement for this sort of hardship?

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)


5 Responses to “Tuesday Topic: Older Kids Struggling with their Faith”

  1. 1 Becka November 9, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I grew up with a father who was also my pastor. While on a mission trip at the age of 15, I decided to abandon my faith and “become” an atheist.

    I gave my parents two months of severe pain, attempted suicide, and almost spilt a church. I destroyed the church’s youth group.

    My parents were crushed.
    But. God was not done with me, even if I declared to be done with Him.

    My father listened to my inane arguments against the existence of God. He didn’t argue with me, but he did challenge me on a intellectual level. He pushed me to read and research.

    When I finally came to Christ, it was a decision I had made because I KNEW it was truth.

    Anyhow, I wanted to share that short form of my testimony to encourage you. And also to tell you that have have prayed that the current stage in your child’s life is one that will transform his earlier faith into one of great strength.

  2. 2 Ashley L. November 10, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Becka, thank you so much for sharing your testimony to God’s goodness in your life and the life of your parents. It is incredible to see how God can work through any situation.

    I hope there are more women who can share on this topic. I know many of you are probably like me, with younger kids thus might not have wisdom from experience to offer.

    I know that my husband did not walk with God until he was almost in college and was very rebellious, wanting nothing to do with God. The thing that he has told me over and over again was how steadfast his parents’ love was for him, regardless of how far he was from God and no matter how much he rebelled. Of course they were heartbroken and of course it was their difficult responsibility to discipline and speak truth, but they loved him and showed this deep, merciful, and sacrificial love to him daily. They continued to speak truth, to pray, and to love him well and to trust the Lord with His life, knowing that they had done what they could. And God heard their prayers and had mercy on him.

    I know that I don’t have much to offer in the way of advice, but I am praying for your child and the children of many other mothers in the same position. God can do unbelievable things. He has entrusted you with the responsibility to love well, to speak truth, and to lead parent as best as you can, and God is in sovereign over the results!

  3. 3 Shilo November 10, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    My children are little so I don’t have any experience with this as a parent, but I wanted to say that I will be praying for you and your child. May you feel more than ever that His grace is sufficient.
    Blessings, sister!

  4. 4 richelle November 12, 2010 at 4:51 am

    as our older kids have walked a few ups and downs in their faith (no one ready to walk the route of renouncing their faith) ~ we have one who struggles with the fact that God allows/ordains so much suffering to people who seem innocent (and that is a common sight here)… which causes said young person to doubt the reality of God/God’s power. Another one gets tripped up over the idea that if God is Who He says He is, then He should answer prayer… not accepting that God answers prayer even when it isn’t the answer we were praying for…

    right now, they are all looking at the fact that their daddy is leaving for the States tonight, to go home and probably say goodbye to his ailing mother… and hurting a lot… and wondering why God is causing this to be a part of their lives… why they can’t go home to see Grandma, too… etc.

    i’ve also been discipling a young person who appreciates being challenged to research on an intellectual level as becka mentioned.

    what we find (and it echoes Becka’s beautiful testimony), is that open ears, no condemnation while still gently speaking truth, focusing on relationship with the young person and accepting even while not agreeing with/condoning wrong ideas, giving room and space for them to explore their ideas and thoughts, allowing natural consequences to teach truth instead of seeking to discipline every wrong ourselves.

    and probably most important – praying instead of panicking ~ parents cannot try and become the Holy Spirit in the lives of their children. it doesn’t all depend on me – do I trust God to disciple my child? Will I leave the results in His all powerful, omnipresent hands? Can I accept what He chooses to do, regardless, as He molds His creation?

    we must pray much, continually, fervently, never giving up… we must love well and unconditionally and gently… we must be honest and transparent and authentic ourselves with our struggles and God’s faithfulness in meeting us where we are…

    …and then step back, mentally take our hands off, while the Spirit does His job, His way, in His timing with His results.

    And that is so hard and so scary, especially when we know.

  5. 5 Karen November 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I thank you all so much for your wisdom! One of the hardest thing is to “let” your own child go through this. I know what life is like without Christ in my life, especially when I was my son’s age!

    The next hardest thing is dealing with judgmental attitudes of others. Because we decide, like Richelle said, not to become the Holy Spirit in their lives. We decided that he needed own space and time to think and explore instead of badger, lecture and nag. When we choose to build our relationship by accepting him as a person with ideas different than ours. When we ignore some of the things he says (especially on facebook) because we feel that he may be doing it for shock value.

    We are doing this with much prayer and tears, and trying not to worry, trusting that the Lord will have HIS way.

    Thanks again!

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