Saturday, August 23, 2008

Roots and Wings

Hannah and Jenny are headed back to the states, and haven't even crossed the Atlantic Ocean yet, but Rebekah has already taken over their former bedroom. At 9 am, she was hard at work, putting her books in the nightstand where Jenny had hers, hanging her clothes in the closet, and filling a plastic bin with the remnants of what they left behind. Rebekah didn't even give me a chance to visit the room as it was, and reflect on the great summer we had together, in what may very well be the last one for a few years.

As I sifted through the photo albums, journals, and notebooks they couldn't fit in their suitcases, I thought of a sermon I had listened to several years ago. It was one of the best messages I ever listened to on parenting and was entitled "Roots and Wings."

As Christian parents, we spend most of our adult life endeavoring to teach our children good character, moral values, and to love the Lord with their whole heart, mind, and strength. These are the roots that will take them through life, and prepare them for the challenges they are sure to face once they leave your home. Our greatest joy is seeing our children grow and develop a close, personal walk with the Lord of their own.

Giving them wings, on the other hand, is when you let them go, pursuing some interests, goals or desires they may have, or just giving them some space to think and make decisions on their own to see how "deep" their Christian faith really is.

None of us want our children to fail--but sometimes parents make the mistake of making every decision for them, and then a child never learns to have confidence in his/her own ability to think for himself. They will need these survival skills when they are faced with the trials and temptations that are going to come their way. The ability to make wise decisions comes from a parent teaching their children when they are young, and showing them by example, how the Word of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit , and seeking godly counsel, is our guide through life. They must be able to discern good and evil for themselves and stand strong when they face opposition and temptation.

As missionaries we had to make some difficult decisions about what our two oldest daughters would be doing in the next few years before the Lord would see fit to perhaps allow them to have a family of their own. Staying on the mission field or going to the states for Bible college were two options. The Lord allowed for them to be with us on the mission field when we first came to Tenerife, and also again this summer. We sought the Lord, and He led us to send them to Fairhaven Baptist College during the school year. We know they are in God's will and He has a plan for them.

There is no "one size fits all" plan for what God has for your children once they graduate from high school. Parents, along with their son/daughter need to prayerfully seek God's direction. Everyone's needs and situation is different. Many may not understand how we can send our young daughters across the ocean and allow them to live apart from us. First of all, we know Fairhaven is a good Christian school and church with like-minded values, and the girls are in a protected environment. But even with all that, it isn't always easy, but we know they are in God's hands, and that He is able to keep them under the shelter of His wings.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. I know the Lord will give the strength and comfort needed. May the Lord bless you all and the work.

Psalm 36:7 (KJV)
"How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings."

Yours in Christ,

Carolee's Corner Canary Islands said...

Thanks for posting the verse Michael. I also like Psalm 61: 4
"I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. "

Victoria said...

You & Doug have done a wonderful job with each of your children. You are an example to me for sure. I'll be praying for you and your girls!

Kathie said...


I saw your comment on my husband's site ( We live in Eaton, Ohio and go to your sister-in-law's church (Gateway Baptist Church - Pastor Ron Sparks). Small world, isn't it? :)


Jenna said...

That was really good! I know you are going to miss them so much but I know you have a lot of peace knowing they are in God's will.

Carolee's Corner Canary Islands said...

Thanks for posting Kathie. Actually, Carla is my older sister (but she is much prettier!). She is a blessing to me and our family.