What to think when you no longer want to get out of bed in the morning:
Let's face it. A woman has one of two choices: career (and cash) or children. Choosing the first starts out looking like a lovely deal but it can leave you loveless. Careers don't hug you when you are sick and dying. Choosing the second may leave you battle-worn and broken, true, but strangely and inexplicably blessed.
Sooner or later children, discover that a mother endlessly given to a career by choice (i.e., in cases where she doesn't have to work outside the home) is a selfish mother. Those who do have to work are seen as lovingly sacrificial if they use their limited time around the edges for the children when they do have time. For the mom who doesn't have to work (including long hours of volunteering, endlessly shopping and socializing for her own sake), the message becomes unmistakable. The hours and hours that should have been invested in her children were given away to an ever-absorbing preoccupation. In isolation and abandonment the child increasingly departs emotionally – and finds some other way to cope. Children who are seen only as an appendage to a working mother and her agenda may balk–and may eventually balk forever.
On the other hand, mothers who give themselves to their children can often feel worthless and beat up. They can feel like they made the wrong choice. Adopted children can go bad. One's own natural-born children can go bad—or at least give you a run for your money for a season. Parenting can be hard, really hard—but is it worthless? Never!
So—what to think?
All ships look noble in the harbor. It is out upon the seas and storms of life that our mettle is tested and forged. Adoniram Judson (a type of parent for the gospel) was hung upside down to sleep while imprisoned in Burma for that gospel. David Brainerd crawled upon frozen ground, with tuberculosis in his chest, intent upon saving a stray Indian or two. Results were not the issue; what God was making of the man was.
First of all, one must realize that turbulence and trouble are not indicators of being out of the will of the Lord. Circumstances can look horrendous and you still be smack dead center in the will of the Lord. No doubt, it didn't look too good to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, yet it was the perfect will of God. It didn't look too peaceful to the children of Israel, either, when they were walking between two huge walls of ocean water raging against the wind, yet they were in the bull's eye of obedience.
A. W. Tozer said, “Those whom God uses greatly, He wounds deeply." All true spiritual growth hardly ever takes place outside of the crucible of suffering. Our deepest spiritual understandings are gained almost in direct proportion to the sufferings and fires we've lived through. Suffering is the avenue of sanctification. God is not a poor investor. Often He works on two generations at once. Regardless of what happens to your child, God does something to you as you parent.
Far from not wanting to crawl out of bed in the morning, we must cock one eye open, and then the other, and wake up our spirit to the challenge ahead. We must remind ourselves that this is not our story, it is His story. It is up to us only to continue getting up and to stay squarely in the saddle. God alone knows the destination. To not stay in the saddle indicates that we think we could write a better story. To choose to plunge into depression or to commit suicide is short-sighted. On this end of the story, we have no idea what the earnings of our moral life looks like—what its endurance wins us and wins for Him, in that other life, the life beyond this one. And we have no idea what our obedience and diligence work in the inner mental traffic in a child's soul—thoughts that are clutched perhaps even in the last dying breath.
Isn't it interesting that we are seldom told by God how good we are in this lifetime?—only how we are loved by Him! Apparently our "goodness quotient" is hidden until the final bar. However, just because it is hidden doesn't mean it doesn't count. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).
What to DO?
Be found faithful—fortified with such courage that we must be found faithful because there are things unseen at stake. What, then, do we do with our wayward children? Some children do not recover, but let us not discard the reality that some wayward children do get recovered. Why not yours? Understand that some children may recover at levels you cannot see—there is an entire continent underneath each soul—that only God sees and understands. There can be furtive random godly thoughts in your child that you are not privy to. And some children may recover at times that we cannot see—some even on their deathbed—the thief on the cross was one of them. Was he not some woman's son?
You, as a parent, will be measured only for faithfulness. End of story. You must provide the conditions for recovery—leaving the results up to God. Every child/soul will ultimately be measured up against those conditions. Yours is a part of the story—a part that matters immensely. Their response is the other part. It is true with the spread of the gospel, too; the missionary provides the availability—the optimum conditions—the supplicant's level of response is his alone.
Pray: gutsy prayers, enduring prayers, shouting/crying out prayers, travailing prayer. Grow a prayer muscle. And pray with expectation; otherwise, you waste your breath.
Love sacrificially and ongoingly. Never pander to your children's insistences—but use the moments, in between, when the children are not insistent, to "feed them tea"!!! and love all over them. Look ‘em in the eye with warm smiles (all they see is your face; they do not see their own) and hug them frequently.
Spend even more time with your children. Do devotions together. Read every other sentence together aloud; ask them what they see, and you say only a sentence or two. Exercise together; cook together; houseclean together; do hospitality together; take a trip together. Read books together. Vegetable garden together. Visit the poor together. (However, minimize your shopping. You don't want to know each other over things, but rather to know each other around good hard work, productivity, and digestion of noble literature.)
Constantly point out real-life examples of disastrous choices and their long-term outcomes. Show your wavering children the results in other's lives. Escort them time and again, mentally, to the observation of the school of hard knocks in other people's lives. Your children can't argue with testimonies of real-life ruin. Such stories do wonders to shatter strong youthful fantasies and delusions.
Raise up blockades against corrupting mental traffic. Watch diligently over what enters the mind of your child. Close off all avenues of mental destruction. Since you control the finances of your child's life, refuse to fund anything that takes them away from you and God. Shut down all rock music; take down all rock posters on the wall; restrain all media, all TV and movies; get your children away from all ungodly professors (wolves in sheep's clothing), schools and books. (Israel's kings had to knock down the high places—and you're a king of your own realm—it is what kings do.) Without doing this you'll find, sadly, that while you feed them honey in the living room, in the bedroom they are drinking arsenic. Simply refuse to fund ungodliness. Without a car or a bed, your child will find submission to your wishes in this area to be to his own self-interest. It is either your money and your godliness, or no money. God doesn't give you this strong card to play forever. Use it while you can.
Gratefulness and trust: Thank God for your bed and for your mornings. Know this, that “our light affliction [of parenting], which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory [your own sure sonship with God] (2 Corinthians 4:17).