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MY PARENTS AREN’T CHRISTIAN

Tiffany, Jennifer & Lisa

Pain can run deep when parents do not value what is most important to you. How can you honor your parents if they don’t share your faith in Christ?

Ask God to Change Your Heart

Ten years ago, if you had asked me to describe the perfect parents, I would have said, “They would stay up late reading books to me, plan road trips, and give me whatever I want to eat. They would support me in whatever I decide to do. They would communicate well with each other and with me.”

More recently, I thought perfect parents would be followers of Jesus—and mine were not. So I started praying. I kept praying that Jesus would change their hearts, always forgetting to pray for my own heart. Finally, I realized that I was not doing my best to honor my mother and father, so I started praying Psalm 51:10 (NIV):

heart candle in hand FTR


Create in me a pure heart, O God,

       and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

I knew that change wouldn’t come from my circumstances, but from within my heart and only by the grace of the One who created me and knew me completely. As God answered my prayer and my heart began to change, I was able to see my parents in a different light.

—Tiffany Amezcua

Examine Your Expectations

Most of my church friends went to church with their parents. Not me. My mother came on special occasions, if that. So I started going to church with friends from school.

My parents support me in everything I do, including my faith; but I worry about what other people think. My parents say they believe in God; yet, their actions sometimes prove otherwise. What do the people from church think about my parents’ not coming to church? What do my church friends think about my family?

I began to notice that all my questions started with “What do the people at church think . . . ?” I was afraid of being judged, ridiculed, or singled out because my parents weren’t church-goers, because my parents weren’t perfect.

Jennifer Bushnell2 2.8.14I finally figured out that my expectations for my parents were so high that not even the holiest parents could attain them. As I began to pray about this, I realized that God knows my parents aren’t perfect but loves them anyway. And I had to admit that even though I am a Christian, I am not perfect either. God knows the struggles of being a Christian in a secular home and is working for good in and through my family. I am learning to love my parents even more than I already did. I don’t expect them to be perfect anymore. They make mistakes, and so do I. Yet I’m proud to say that, in part, I am who I am today because of my imperfect parents.

—Jennifer Bushnell, 18

 

DIG DEEPER

Seek to Honor Your Father and Mother

  1. Don’t expect too much. This is your parents’ first time parenting you. You are unique. They have never dealt with your problems, your personality, or you at your age. When your parents anger or disappoint you, remember that they are only human. Don’t let high expectations set you up for frustration.
  2. Don’t expect too little of God. The conflicts you have with your parents don’t surprise God. God hasn’t placed you in a family by mistake. While you are tempted to give up on having a solid relationship with your mom, God is at work drawing her close. God’s patience while waiting for your dad to begin a life of faith never diminishes, even if you have grown weary.
  3. Practice showing respect. The hard work of honoring difficult people is not reserved for families alone. Romans 12:10 (NRSV) spurs us on to “outdo one another in showing honor.” Learning to respect family members, even when you disagree, will help you to honor and respect other people in your life. Trust that God sees your efforts and that your relationship with God can be strengthened even in the midst of a tough home life.

—Lisa Crawford

—from devozine (May/June 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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