Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Parenting Grown Children

photo from

Above all, love each other deeply,

because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

Our son and his wife celebrated their twelfth wedding anniversary this week. My how the time has flown by since that Thursday Seth called and told us he was getting married—the following Monday!

“Did you say married? To whom?” I asked, my voice instantly reflecting the “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” flashing in my brain.

“To Yana,” Seth answered, the “Duh” inferred rather than spoken.

“But . . . but, I thought you said last week that the two of you were just friends?” My confusion grew exponentially; the robot from “Lost in Space” continuing to wave his accordion arms and chant “Danger!”

I shouldn’t have been so completely surprised. Two years previously our daughter had called on New Year’s Day to tell us she was engaged to a man we had never even met! Erin and Corey were both stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. As soon as we got the call we made reservations to fly to Albuquerque. We were introduced to our son-in-law for the first time just two weeks before they went to a justice of the peace and got married.

It wasn’t easy to accept my children marrying people we weren’t given the chance to get to know first. It was actually quite frightening. How did I know if this guy would take good care of my precious daughter? What evidence did I have that this gal would love my son with an everlasting love?

I asked a bazillion questions and waved a ton of red flags. I tried with all my might to slam the brakes on my grown children’s impetuous decisions. But, you know what I learned? Their decisions were just that—their decisions.

By God’s grace, both marriages have passed the ten year mark. As an added bonus, I have been blessed with three beautiful, intelligent, and loving grandchildren. (No bias here—just stating facts.)

All that back story to say, relationships with grown children can be tricky. God has taught me a couple of lessons through it all. (I now wonder if maybe that robot shouting “Danger! Danger!” in my mind was really God telling me to keep quiet and let Him handle things. LOL!) I share what I’ve learned in the hopes that someone else traveling this twisting, winding, and very rewarding road of parenting adult children will find them helpful.

1) My grown children are the ones who ultimately will live with the consequences of their choices. I must not only give them the freedom to make those choices, but also allow them to shoulder the natural results—no matter how badly I want to bail them out.  Love must sometimes be “tough”, so that God’s work can be accomplished in the lives of our children.

2) If I want a relationship with my grown children, I must respect and accept their decisions, whether I feel they are poorly timed, unwise, thoughtless, or counterproductive. It does no good to criticize, cry, or contrive. In fact, in most cases, the least said, the better. To do otherwise simply drives a wedge between us that might never be removed. Love never manipulates.

3) I have no power to change my grown children’s way of thinking, but God can and does. Our daughter has a closer walk with God now than she ever did and our son’s wife, who had no Christian background, sees that their family attends church regularly. Love always lets go and lets God.

Parenting grown children requires faith—faith in our children, faith in ourselves, but most of all, faith in God. For when our faith in our child wavers and our faith in our parenting skills disintegrates, our faith in God can remain strong. We can trust Him with our grown children. He knows what is best for them. After all, He loves them even more than we do!


©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rubbing Elbows

Photo by Pam Williams
The porches on our new parsonage afford beautiful views and peaceful respites from the busy world. However our old Adirondack chairs are warped in all the wrong places and don’t inspire anyone to sit for very long. So I decided to check for wooden porch rockers like they sell at Cracker Barrel.

The problem was I didn’t want to pay much so it took a while (months actually) to find just the right chairs. Eventually I found three, paying only $10 for each one—and two of them had actually been purchased at Cracker Barrel by the previous owners! Dick put his excellent spray painting abilities to work and voile! We now have three comfy rockers on our back porch!

I noticed the other day that two of the chairs had rubbed together and a little of the paint from each one had been deposited on to the other. I was surprised at how just minor contact had allowed the colors to transfer.

Isn’t that why God warns us that “bad companions ruin good character”? (1 Corinthians 15:33) The bad habits of those we spend time with can and do rub off on us.

One of the best Biblical examples of this is Aaron and the golden calf. "Aaron's bull was a mixture of the powerful God who delivered the people through mighty works, and the pagan methods of worship that were borrowed from the people around them." (

On the other hand, the fine example of devoted believers can strengthen our own faith.  Proverbs 27:17 says “People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.”

I thank God for the witness of my fellow faith bloggers*** and for the uplifting comments of so many readers. Your stories touch my heart and rub off on my actions. Every day the words of encouragement from one or more of you faithful followers of Jesus inspire me to “press on toward the goal in order to win the prize which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above.” (Philippians 3:14)


***To those of you who share your faith through blogging, I say, keep writing my friends! We need you! I realize that blogging is a huge commitment of time and creativity, but please know that your efforts are not in vain. Even though we don’t always comment, we, your readers, are digesting the truths you share and the world is changing for the better one post at a time.

©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Lousy Beautician

So this is what 61 looks like, I thought to myself as I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Where had my thick, shiny chestnut-colored hair gone? When did I develop a “turkey neck”? How did all those barnacles crop up on my skin?

I need to get some hair extensions! I better start exercising and eating healthier! Isn’t there some kind of vitamin cream that will ward off age spots? I thought, feeling a bit panicky.

As the years creep up on us, we all go through anxieties about our physical appearance. However as I pondered the effects of aging on my body, God nudged me to examine what effect the years have had on my spiritual well-being, reminding me that people look at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

What did I see in my spiritual mirror? How had my faith weathered the decades from the time when I was “born” spiritually? Had I matured since the day I started life anew by trusting in Jesus as my Savior instead of myself?

With great thankfulness I realized that, by God’s mercy, the years had strengthened my faith. Rather than wrinkling and weakening with time and trials, my faith had smoothed out and solidified, no longer tossed about by every shifting wind of teaching. (Ephesians 4:14)

I remember when I first became a Christian I got fired up by every speaker and teacher who thumped their Bibles. I was practically a roadie for musicians like Keith Green and Mickey and Becky Moore. I rode the roller coaster of spiritual highs during corporate worship at Jesus’ events and questioned my faith when I didn’t “feel” that rush of soul adrenaline in our weekly church services.

But God has used the trials and challenges of life to define and refine my faith. He has taught me that I can find the truths and foundations of faith in His Word. I have learned that God is present in both the exhilaration and the desperation of each and every moment. Albeit, I miss the euphoria, but it’s been replaced with a Rock-solid belief in Jesus that is far more valuable and lasting.

Time really has been a lousy beautician, but the past nearly four decades have only increased faith’s beauty and value. I would love to hear what you are seeing as you look into your spiritual mirror.


©2014 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Overlooked

Photo from

Matthew 18:1–5
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'”

According to Pastor Jeffrey Miller of Trinity Bible Church in Texas, “In the first century, children were especially regarded as insignificant. They had no power and no status, and were not considered full persons. Thus to embrace a child publicly was to embrace that which was insignificant. Jesus was choosing insignificance by association.”

Today, most Christians follow Jesus’ example when it comes to children. However, there are undoubtedly others whom we fail to notice—those who offer humble services (waiting tables, hauling away trash, stocking grocery store shelves, etc), sit by us on the the Metro or bus, the person in line behind us, or worse yet, the newcomer in the pew in front of us—anyone whom we unwittingly treat as insignificant.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be ignored and neglected, unseen and unheard, unappreciated and unwelcomed? What if I . . . or what if you . . . were that person? How would we feel?

Will you pray with me that God would open our eyes to those around us—to the overlooked and disregarded, whomever and wherever they may be? What might God be trying to teach us through them, just as he taught his disciples through the example of a child?

I will never forget the example Christ showed me of Christian caring through the actions of a young woman at the Williamsport Hospital. Our son spent two weeks in ICU following an injury to his kidney. On the morning of Seth's surgery Dick and I were sitting in the waiting area anxiously searching the faces of every doctor who came through the doors from the operating arena. A young woman came over and offered us each a granola bar and simply said, “I have been cleaning your son’s room in ICU and I knew he was having surgery today. I thought you might need something to tide you over while you wait. I wanted you to know I’m praying for him.”

Yes, I had casually thanked the person who came in and cleaned Seth’s room when I happened to be there, but I honestly never really looked at her or even read her name badge. Yet, she had obviously not only taken note of us, but was willing to reach out to us in a tangible way.

The world is full of people just like that young woman. What could we say or do to acknowledge his/her presence? To recognize their worth? To make that person feel significant, to feel cared for? I don’t think it would take too much—a smile, a kind word, making eye contact, an expression of thanks, the offer of a cup of coffee . . . or a granola bar. Be creative. Jesus left us an example. Let’s follow in His steps. (1 Peter 2:21)


©2014 Pamela D. Williams