FIVE WAYS TO HELP OUR HURTING ADULT CHILDREN
My friend’s son just retired from the military-he had hoped to be promoted one more level, but had been turned down twice. He knew it was time to leave. Jim has a wife and several beautiful kids. So he has a lot of people counting on him financially.
He told his mom up front he was not going to discuss his job search because he did not want to worry her. That comment makes me laugh, since the word Mom and the word Worry almost always are the same in my mind. So his poor mom had to worry on her own, without any information. She gathered her most trusted prayer warriors and we all began to pray earnestly for a job. I admit it’s a lot harder to pray for a situation when I don’t have any specifics, but we all did our best. My husband and I talked to Jim and learned information we couldn’t share with his mom. So in one sense that made it easier to pray but in another it was hard not to tell a fellow mama how her child is hurting. But you know what? His mom knew exactly what was going on in her son’s heart without any of us telling her.
I can’t explain how moms know but we do. My best guess is that it’s because we raised our children so we know the tones of their voices and their body language. Jim’s mom knew his job search wasn’t going well at all because she could hear it in his voice. Even though he lived over 250 miles away and they mostly talked by phone and text, his mama just knew. And so we kept praying, and praying. And praying.
Just as Jim’s vacation leave ran out he found a job. It’s not as much money as he was making in the military, but his pension is helping cover that. It’s not an especially interesting or challenging job, but it is a job. God answers prayer but not always in the way that we want. And that’s okay because God brought Jim this job so we are all grateful. Yet Jim still struggles with feelings of depression, inadequacy, and unfulfillment. He doesn’t want to discuss it with his mom because he doesn’t want to worry her and he doesn’t want her to “meddle”.
What can we do with adult children that don’t want our advice or opinions? Here are some suggestions:
1-Prayer is number one on the list of course. If you are unsure where to start, I recommend Stormie O’Martian’s The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children. I have poured through her book and I use her book of daily prayers. I have found it so powerful as I am not always sure what to pray for specifically for my kids.
2-Realize that your child is an adult and you cannot solve his problems-only God can. If your child asks for advice then prayerfully give it. Otherwise you just have to trust that God has this. Because He does.
3-Ask your child specifically how you can pray. If your child is reluctant at first that’s okay-don’t push. Just explain you are praying and want to be as specific as possible. Then give reassurances that you are praying fervently and consistently.
4-Ask your child’s permission to share with your church, prayer group, Bible study, and all of the above. I think it’s always a good idea to let your child know others are praying for her, and make sure she’s okay with that. Then ask your friends to pray for your child and give updates when possible. People always like to know the status of their prayers.
5-Let your child know every day by text, email, etc. that you love him and you are praying for him every day. Even if you don’t get a response you know your child read it and feels comforted.
I find a lesson to be learned in all my past deeds. I find myself learning this lesson again and again. I cannot fix my child’s problems-only He can. My part as the parent of an adult child is to be a prayer warrior. And to listen when my child wants to share.
Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post. Please share any situations you’ve experienced that you had to close your mouth and just pray.