Learning how to let go and let God as a Catholic parent can be a lifelong challenge.
Learning How to Let Go and Let God as a Catholic Parent
Learning how to let go and let God as a Catholic parent can be a lifelong challenge indeed. From the moment we find out we are expecting we feel the weight of responsibility on us to raise our children well and teach them about God. Even in death, our relationship as parent and child does not end; we can continue to pray for each other.
So, how can we as Catholic parents learn how to let go and let God when it comes to our children?
What does let go and let God mean?
First of all, what does let go and let God even mean?
It is good to take a step back and look at who is involved: God and myself.
Who is God? God is Almighty, the Creator of all, the Triune God, the One who sacrificed Himself for our salvation. The One who loves each of us beyond our human comprehension. He is all good, all-knowing, and all-loving.
Who am I? I am a being with an immortal soul who was created by God. He created me for a reason and I have a purpose on earth. I was also created to enjoy eternal happiness with God in Heaven. He knows His plans and purpose for my life.
I am the one letting go. I am letting God.
How do we let go and let God?
It is easy to say let go and let God, but how can we put that into practice?
Know that your children are not your children; they are God’s children.
Your children belong to God. They are His children whom He created and has entrusted into your care to take care of, to teach, and to guide in this life. God knows that you are the right fit for each other. You are just the right parents for your children. Your children are just the right children for you as a parent.
It is a privilege and a gift from God to be able to help each other to get to Heaven.
Know that God does not expect you to be perfect.
You are not perfect. I am not perfect. Our children are not perfect. Only God is perfect.
God already knows that we are not perfect. (He created us, after all! He knows.) God does not expect us to be perfect. He wants us to try our best.
God is with us. We can trust in Him to help and guide us.
God doesn’t just give us children and then leave us to figure out everything on our own. We can rely on Him to help us. We can pray for guidance, receive the Sacraments often, and trust in Him. He will walk with us and guide us every step of the way.
Remember, our children are His children. He loves them more than we can possibly understand. He wants what is best for them, just as He wants what is best for us as their parents.
So, what is best for us? Our final goal is Heaven. To be with God eternally in Heaven is what is best for us. All the trials and joys in our lives along the way are to help mold us so that we will get to Heaven at the end of our lives. We do not know how long our lives will be, so we need to be seeking God’s guidance and help now so that we may live our lives well and according to His ways.
Often things happen in life that we don’t expect. We need to persevere: keep going, keep our faith, and don’t give up. When the unexpected happens in our lives and in the lives of our children, we can ask God to show us how to use it as a way to draw closer to Him. What can we learn from this? How can we improve our lives? How can we be a good example for our children? How can we let go of our expectations and trust more in God?
Pray for our children and ourselves.
Pray. Pray. Pray. “Pray without ceasing” is what we are told to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. We should pray for ourselves as well as children. We can pray for greater trust in God, for guidance, and to see His involvement in our lives more clearly. We can pray for our children to know and love God deeply, to be faithful to the Church and to live the lives that they are called to live. We can pray for peace in our homes and in our relationships with each other and with others outside of our home. We can pray to be a good example for our children.
Let go and let God means that we let go of what is not in our control.
Letting go means trusting in God. We are letting go of our expectations, our frustrations, our desire to control things that we cannot (or should not try) to control.
We are only able to control our own thoughts, words, and actions; we can not control the thoughts, words, and actions our children choose to think, say, or do. Yes, we can set a good example, guide them, and give them consequences as needed, but they will choose what they will choose. (For better or for worse.)
It certainly can be difficult to see our children make choices that are harmful to themselves or others or make choices that draw them away from God and our family. We know that God is looking out for them. We can trust in Him. God is a good and loving Father; how often does He see us fall or turn away from Him and want to swoop in and help? Many ties. Yet, He gave us free will to choose how we want to live and to freely choose to love Him. Our children have the same free will.
We are called to do our best as parents. We are called to rely on God in all things. God is there in the gap between our capabilities as parents and the needs of our children. He is there with His guidance and grace, (with Godparents and friends, too) to help us to connect with our children, to help them, and to guide them.
Sometimes we may feel inadequate as parents, or look back and have regrets. Tap into resources to help you in the areas of parenting where you feel inadequate so you can learn more and have more confidence. Talk to friends, read relevant books and websites, or seek professional help. Find the answers you are looking for.
If you have regrets, take the time to understand why you do. Is something your fault that you realize you could or should have handled differently? Or, was it a situation that was not your fault, but you feel like you failed because your child made a choice you wish he or she would not have made? If you need to, forgive yourself. Work from where you are to make things better. If you keep looking backward with regret, you will not move forward. After you figure out what to do next, focus on where you want to be, not to where you were.
We can only control so much. We need to trust God with the rest.
Letting go and letting God is a lifelong process.
It takes daily practice as we learn to let go and let God as parents. We can entrust our children (God’s children) to God’s care and protection remembering that God loves us and is looking out for each of us. He knows we are not perfect and that we cannot control everything. Another comfort we have is knowing that we each have a Guardian Angel whom God has given to us to watch over, protect, and guide us. That is a great gift.
Letting go and letting God means letting go of our wills and trusting in God, our good and loving Father.