I learned a long time ago that my relationship with Jesus would be the most important one I would ever have. I didn’t apply that knowledge to the other relationships in my life, though. Then about 15 years ago, I was in a very dark place and found myself all alone. I still had Jesus, but I had twisted that relationship, and all the others in my life, to the point where I wasn’t sure if even Jesus wanted to be my friend anymore.
This weekend, Lauren Snyder asked, “What if spiritual vision influenced our relationships?” I only wish I had contemplated this question before I found myself all alone. As I started to heal and come out of the darkness, I became more intentional with my relationships. I kept thinking, “If you want to have a friend, you have to be a friend.” So, I started being the friend I wanted to have, especially where my adult children and grandchildren were concerned.
Lauren Snyder shared that “bigger families are better.” She explained that this isn’t limited to bloodlines, and I couldn’t agree more. I have several friends with whom I meet on a regular basis, just to “check in.” One is with my sister-in-Christ, and we meet twice a month specifically to do a health check on our spirituality and to pray with and for one another and the people in our lives.
While a parent is the primary influence in a child’s young life, a child needs multiple influences. When my daughters started turning to other women in their lives to confide in and receive guidance, I was honestly jealous and a little hurt, but God has since shown me that this is how his love works through us. I’ve come to value those women who love and care for my girls. I’d like to see more influential men in my son’s life. Now, I keep my eyes open for opportunities to be there for the children of other women. Jesus is kind and wise, and he can use each of us to reflect a little of his mercy and grace to those we come into contact with.
Another important reason for children to have influential relationships outside of the parents is that parents don’t always see the story God is writing. We see this in the story of King David. When he was young, his father, Jesse, viewed him as a shepherd boy. He didn’t imagine that God had much bigger things in store. God showed those bigger things to the prophet Samuel, and it was Samuel who told David he would one day be King.
There is power when other adults speak into the lives of our children. Make a conscious effort to put trusted adults into the life of your child BEFORE they’re needed, so that help will be there when IT IS needed. Be a trusted adult to a child.
Is God bringing someone into your life with whom you can have a powerful Christ-like influence? Are you listening for and open to the ways that God may be calling you?
Read 1 Samuel 16: 1-12. If you are a parent, think about the relationships your kids have. Consider who might be a person of influence that could point them to Jesus and the adventure he has for their life.
If you are not a parent, pray and ask God where you can serve the needs of a child who needs a trusted godly person to be an influence in his/her life. Open yourself up to opportunities to serve. Be intentional about taking your next step.
Father, I thank you for the people in my children’s lives who have shown great compassion and mercy, genuine concern for their welfare, and given them guidance. I pray for each of the children and families who have yet to know you. I lift them up and ask that you send a merciful servant who can lead them into a relationship with you. Move us, Lord, toward what moves you. Give us all the strength to be your hands and your feet. I pray this in the almighty name of God, the Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
This post was written by Julie Estep. Julie loves her husband John and their combined five adult children and four grandchildren. Her favorite activities are walking their two dogs and golfing. She loves sharing her faith and is grateful for the chance to be a LIO contributor.
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