When You're Fighting For Your Misunderstood Kids

10:43 AMHeather

Hi. My name is Heather. And I've had a recent addiction to all the seasons of Parenthood. I'm really not proud of it. 

Oh, sure, I could say boastful things like, "I DO MARATHONS! (of netflix)."  

But, the truth is that yes, I've spent hours of my life, caught up in all the struggles and joys in the lives of the Bravermans. Netflixing is not something I often do. 

Here's the deal. I found myself intrigued by this show that applauds a commitment to family and marriage and all the struggles of parenthood. As the name implies. Particularly when it came to the show's character, Max, and the real life depiction of a person living with Asperger's.  That story line caught my attention, as the show didn't sugar coat any of it, but showed so many aspects of this diagnosis. It seemed to be pretty accurate, from what I know, although I don't have a child on the autism scales. And I just wanted to cheer for all the efforts, blood, sweat and tears of Kristina and Adam as they continually championed for their child's needs.

Whether or not you have a child with a particular diagnosis, I think most parents can relate when it comes to the need to advocate for your child. When it comes to the angst of your child being misunderstood. By peers. Or extended family members. Or teachers. I think many of us have found ourselves tied in knots because of a phone call where you knew pretty quickly that who your child REALLY is was not seen at all. And accusations or misunderstandings result in messes that you want to fix. For your child. Because you so desire to protect them from judgment and struggles and hard, hard places in life. 

I have friends whose kids and teens are struggling hard. Academically. Socially. Emotionally. Physically. Struggling with a mental health diagnosis or a learning disability. These are battles I cannot even pretend to grasp.

Yet, truth be told, I think all of us see our kids wrestling on a regular basis to some degree, with or without a label. Because it's truly hard to be a kid. 

Our children are wrestling to make friends, to be accepted, to succeed in the classroom, to excel in sports, and to balance all that is thrown at them.

Childhood has been hijacked, in my humble opinion. Hijacked by technology and social media and a cut throat mentality that has taken over little league. Kids these days can't just be kids. They aren't able to roam free or just play on a team for the love of it and the fun of it. Because the pressure is beyond anything I ever experienced as a kid.

But that's a whole other blog post.

My point is that I don't think I'm alone when I cyclically find myself in a tired, worn place because I've been fighting for my kids. Fighting to help them be understood and accepted. Championing their cause with teachers or family members. Fielding phone calls or working to masterfully compose an email on their behalf. Carefully seeking to advocate for them with those in our lives. Working hard and second guessing often how to help navigate their way through friendships and peer relationships. 

Wanting so desperately to just fix things for them. To pave the way and make it smooth. Or at least smoother for them. Not that we can or should erase all the obstacles, as struggles can be an important learning process for our children. But, I think I'm not alone when I see some rock in the road that shouldn't be there. That is not necessary, and the stumble it causes feels so unfair.

And so, coming from that place of feeling fatigued in my fight for my misunderstood kids, I saw a battle cry when I read in Luke 18 this morning. I saw a few short verses that filled my heart with encouragement. I hope you feel the same way, battle weary parents out there.

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
Luke 18:15-17

Let's camp here for the rest of this blog post.

First of all, I see an incredible parenting tip for all of us. Parenting 101 here.

Bring our children to Jesus. Run to Jesus with every concern, every pain, every struggle, every problem. Just bring our babies to him through prayer and ask him to touch our kids. Ask him to show up for them and through them and within the situation. May we run to Jesus with every concern regarding our kids... and trust him to touch them.

Because this battle for our kids isn't ours alone. It's not ours to fight solo. He made our kids. Exactly as they are. He knows the number of hairs on their head, and he knit them in their mother's womb. He knows far more than we do about the situation. 

And he cares. 

He cares for our kids far and above how we care for them. His heart is for them, even more than ours are.

He loved them to death.

And he says, here in this little passage in Luke, that he wants us to bring our babies to him. He wants to touch their lives. He wants to intersect the issues. He says bring your kids and all their concerns to ME. 

So, may we run to Jesus with every concern regarding our kids and then trust him to touch them. Trust him to reach into their lives and show up.

And, second of all--bless those fervent but misguided disciples who walked with Jesus. Those regular men who tried but often got it wrong. Because those disciples were rebuking the parents. They were so full of vigor and pride about Jesus' importance that they rebuked the parents who were bringing their babies. Probably saying that Jesus didn't have time for that.

The truth is this. The world and EVEN THOSE IN THE CHURCH may not GET where we are with our kids. They may not get where our kids are. This can include church staff, such as youth pastors or children's pastors. This can include your "besties" within the church walls who shock you one day because you thought they were a safe place to land. But they clearly do not GET what your struggle. And it might feel as if the disciples themselves are rebuking you for where you are with your kids.

We human beings can be so short sighted. We can tend to see things only through our lenses. And until we have experienced what others experience, we tend to a very poor job of empathizing and extending grace. It's pretty easy to revert to judgment and rebuke when we think someone isn't doing what they should be doing.

This might be where you are. You are fighting for your misunderstood kids and you feel as though the church itself is rebuking you for your situation. Where you thought you'd find cheerleaders and moral support, you get naysayers and confusion and more misunderstanding.

But take heart. 

Because I don't think it's by accident that this little phrase is included in the pages of Scripture: "When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them."

Let's read on.

Because RIGHT AFTER THAT, the Word says, "But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.' "

No matter how misunderstood you feel by man, hang on to this truth.

Jesus says come. Jesus says come to me. Jesus says do not hinder these children...he calls out those who misrepresent him. And he clearly says to every one of us fighting for our kids--come to me!

For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

The very kingdom of God belongs to the children and the lowly and the helpless and the misunderstood and the ones fighting and the parents seeking help and the children who need a touch from Jesus.

That's who the kingdom of God belongs to. The kids fighting with mental illness. The parents in the trenches with them. The teens struggling to find independence and work through all the hardships of being a teen these days. The kids whose teachers see only a behavior issue instead of a whole child with particular needs and bents. The children whose strengths cannot be seen because only their weaknesses are noted. The parents who cry buckets of tears as they fight, day after day after day, for their misunderstood children.

Jesus says COME. Come to me. Bring your "babies" to me. Let me touch them. Don't listen to the naysayers and those who misspeak and rebuke you for coming to me. Don't be deterred by the obstacles in the way. Don't be hindered by all that is coming against you. 

But come.

Come to me. Because the kingdom of God belongs to the hurt and wounded and broken and misunderstood and lonely and tired and weary and worn. The kingdom of God belongs to those whose faith simply calls them to run to Jesus. In all the battles. With all the struggles. With all the wrestling.

Jesus doesn't say get it all figured out and solved and fixed and then come.

He says come to me. With your kids. For your kids. Come to me. Right in the middle of your mess. With a simple faith that says I choose to run to Jesus with all that I don't understand...I'm just running at him, full speed, with every single burden and concern.

I'm going to bring my children to Jesus through prayer for his touch on their lives. I'm going to remember his heart for them. I'm going to embrace that he throws out his welcome mat and throws open his door to say COME to me. And he is waiting to touch our lives and our children's lives and to show that he is faithful when we are faithless.

May we remember that Jesus says ignore the nay saying. Jesus rebukes those who misunderstand and dare to hinder our path to Jesus in the middle of all our battles.

May we learn not to let fallen people be the voice of Jesus in our lives. Because sometimes, even the closest disciples of Jesus get it wrong.

Above it all, louder than those who don't get it, Jesus calls us to come.

May we listen to THAT voice. May we choose to hear his voice louder than all the rest.

And in the middle of our battle fatigue, may we remember the best strategy of all to find relief. 

Bring our "babies"-- whether they are tiny enough to be held or taller than us--bring them to Jesus. And ask him for his touch on their lives. No matter how many times we have to keep asking, may we never cease interceding on our children's behalf. And trusting that Jesus says, "these are my children. And I'm fighting for them."

We aren't alone. Because the One who made them is the One who still fights for them. 

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