What do we want most of all for our children? Do we want them to be successful and prosper? Do we want them to be happy?

Sure, we want all of these things for our children and their children. But we also want more than that for them.

I have been raising children for 26 years and I am so super blessed by the adults my kids have become. But I can honestly say it hasn’t always been easy.

The life I brought them into was not perfect. There was a history of rebellion against God and living a party lifestyle during their dad’s and my life. Many times from the outside it looked good, but on the inside, behind the closed doors of our home, things were not always hunky-dory.

Life was pretty normal until around 1998, when I started realizing addiction had consumed my now ex-husband. It wasn’t necessarily his fault at first because he was struck with gout and back pain and the only relief was pain medications. I saw him in chronic pain and my heart would break for him. I didn’t want him to hurt. What I didn’t realize was how many pills it took every day for him to overcome the pain and be able to function normally. This went on for years before I finally realized he was addicted, and by that time he was already physically and mentally dependent on the drugs. Our life began spiraling downwards.

At about the same time we both started working at the same insurance company and our finances started improving. With more money he saw the opportunity to buy more pills. It was also during the time when patients could doctor hop and he had several doctors who would prescribe him the same meds. I even found some of my prescriptions gone.

Years passed, and our precious kids kept growing. We kept them active in church, sports and, of course, with school activities. We loved it. Life was busy but satisfying. I thought we were pretty good parents doing the best we could.

But as the addiction worsened, so did our marriage. After 23 years of marriage our life together as husband and wife ended. It was no longer “’til death do us part.” Addiction and immorality did us part. I found myself alone with two small children and tears of pain streaming down my face day after day. At the foot of my bed I would pray every night and lift my tears up to the Lord, asking Him to not let all of this pain be in vain. I asked Him to use me.

God is faithful.

As a parent and most of all if you are a believer in and follower of Christ, you want your children to fall in love with Jesus and live and serve Him. I have spent all of my children’s lives teaching them and trying to live by example what it means to be a Christian.

There have been times when they have fought me about going to church, and have rebelliously walked away and tried to find their own way. There have been some prodigal years.

I know my Lord has wonderful plans for each one of my kids and yours too. I hold on knowing that He who started a good work in them will complete it. I know God never gives up on us. I understand that if we have truly asked Christ to come into our life, He will continue to pursue us.

%22train-up-a-child-in-the-way-he-should-go-even-when-he-is-old-he-will-not-depart-from-it-%22From the birth of my children I have done everything I know to do to train up a child in the way he should go, even when life was broken. I will trust God to allow them not to depart from the training and teaching of my parenting.

I have seen fruits of love, peace, joy, self-control, kindness and so much more in my sweet kids. I am thankful to see Jesus in and through them.

They bring joy to my heart;
they bring love and laughter. laughter-me

Yes, they have caused tears and pain at times but I focused on Jesus bringing joy beyond those times. 

Maybe you too have children who have strayed away from you and/or the Lord. We can’t fit our kids into our own little “God world.” We have to let them venture out and find their own path. We pray that God will reveal His truth to them. We love them like we always have. We pray for them like we always have. We leave them in the hands of God. We show them mercy and grace. We applaud them for their accomplishments. We count our blessings one child at a time!

Children are a gift from God. Click To Tweet

God has given my peace from worry over my children. I have had to trust that He loves them more than I even do and He has their best interest at heart and wants them to follow Him just like I do. He allowed me to be their mother, so He must trust me. They are my heartbeat.

If I had any one piece of parenting advice to share, it would be to pray. Every. Single. Day. Pray. If you aren’t praying for your kids, who is?

God taught me true joy through my children. Joy is watching them grow up and become what God wants them to become.

Joy doesn’t have to always be happy; it can be hopeful. Click To Tweet

home-1798715_1920It has now been 14 years since those days of being alone at home with two small kids. We made it past the pain. We walked through the valleys and climbed our way to the top of the mountain. Joy has been with us. The tears haven’t been in vain and I’m pretty sure God has used our story and me. For that I am grateful.

Are you walking through pain now while raising your family? Leave us a comment and tell us how we can pray for you. 

Ask God today to:

  1. Give your children the desire to fall in love with Jesus.
  2. To use you in the lives of others.
  3. To show you His love.
  4. To protect your children and consume their thoughts.
  5. To bring you joy through the pain and to help you praise Him daily.

Joy Beyond is available through Amazon:
Brenda Martin - Joy Beyond - Cover-01-REV-front



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About Brenda McGraw

Brenda McGraw is the founder of Ask God Today Ministries where a team of writers share hope and truth with others. She has a God-given dream to reach the masses with the gospel of Christ. Brenda is an author and speaker who reveals how to discover joy beyond the clutter of life. She draws from her own life experiences in the #1 Amazon Best seller,“Joy Beyond, 28 Days to Finding Joy Beyond the Clutter of Life”. She has two new books released. Finished, Top Ten Steps to Finish Writing a Book and Living Uncluttered, An Abundant Life Bible Study. Brenda lives in South Carolina with her husband, Jeff and one of their five children. She is a survivor of breast cancer and a heart attack. Despite the challenges she has endured, Brenda found peace through her relationship with Jesus Christ.
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