3 Ways to Love your Adult Children

By Chris Baxter

Whew, nobody forewarned me about "adult children." The term alone is an oxymoron. Our kids are "all gown up," out there in the world, but our hearts are as bound to them as when we were holding them in our arms as infants.

So, how do we love them well at this juncture in their lives?

Having been in this stage now for over a decade, with two children in the 20's and two in their 30's, plus gaining 3 more children with their respective spouses, I have had plenty of opportunity to experience trial and error in parenting on this journey. Along with their triumphs and blessings each child has also gone through heartache, hardship, and loss in some way. (One year in particular was even labeled "the year of tears" by two of my children. A tough year for sure.) Watching them go through these things is hard on a momma's heart.

When looking at this journey in an overarching way, I have 3 insights that God continues to remind me when navigating my adult children's highs and lows:

1. Be patient. I must remember that God is not done. He is always working. When I think of my own life-experience as a 20-30 year-old, I marvel at both my immaturity and insecurity. But this is where God met me. He was gracious and compassionate in my toddler-like-walk with him. He used my circumstances (dashed dreams as an athlete, loneliness as a resident's wife, sadness of 2 miscarriages, drama in my family of origin) to cause me to run to him. He wooed me to his love. He used ALL of these things to mature me, showing me that he is my ALL in ALL. I must remember and take hope that he will do the same for each one of my children.

2. Be prudent. Set healthy boundaries...no helicoptering. I've learned that when they are ready, they'll talk. I need to be a safe place for them to share their heart, listening first, all the while praying for the Lord to speak his wisdom through me. I must resist the strong temptation to fix it for them, whatever "it" is. The best thing I can ever do for them is to point them to Jesus. His word is life-giving in every way.

3. Be prayerful. Prayer is never wasted time, whereas worry is only that. So I must remember to keep prayer as a daily priority; my words to God about my children are loving my children in supernatural ways. This morning I was convicted to get on my knees for one of my adult children in particular. God can do things that I certainly cannot! Ask without doubting and wait expectantly for his answers. Don't forget to thank him when and how he chooses to answer. Share with your children all that you see that God is doing in their lives. It will strengthen their faith.

Be patient.

Be prudent.

Be prayerful.

Your adult children are a beautiful work in progress, as are we.

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Daily Prayer

Sent out

While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.  Acts 13:2-3

Dear Lord,

You have an appointed task for each one of us. Help us to encourage one another and pray for each other as we individually answer your call. Send us where you want us and be glorified as we use our unique gifts. Invade us with your Spirit and involve us with your ways. Amen.