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Have I Set My Children Up For Failure?

Have I Set My Children Up For Failure?

I have this epic fear when it comes to my children and it’s bigger than any of my other fears combined when it comes to them:

History repeating itself.

My skin crawls at the thought of this. Not that I have lived this absolutely horrific life, filled with one humungous poor choice after another with no light or joy whatsoever, by any means. I am beyond grateful for this crazy life of mine, including the unexpected gifts that have come from my failures and missteps.

But I look at my children and can’t help but wonder if I – in choosing my marriage partner out of neediness and fear, along with ending up divorced nineteen years later – have set them up for failure.

If I sit with this thought too terribly long, I can become paralyzed. So I must choose to battle that thought process on a consistent basis, and here’s how I do that:

I remind myself that there are no Plan B’s in God’s economy. There isn’t even one thing in this life that hasn’t first been either set up by or allowed by God. That can sting sometimes when we look at the painful situations in our lives, but it can also bring us comfort when we realize that God only allows things to happen that can bring us deep good or bring him deep glory. Because of this, I can be assured that my current circumstances will not strap my children with a Plan B life.

I surround my kids with good, godly adults. I’m not naïve to the reality that I cannot parent these two children successfully into adulthood on my own. So I ask other adults who I trust to spend time with my children and to pray for them. I’m not too proud to admit that it truly takes a village.

I pray. I’m praying against darkness taking over in my children’s lives. I’m praying for healing. I’m praying that they make better choices than I made. I’m praying for emotional and spiritual breakthroughs for each of them to occur before they reach adulthood. And I’m praying that I am able to see redemption burst forth in beautiful ways in both of their lives.

I speak Truth into their lives. The other day I told my son that he has an uphill battle into manhood. He doesn’t live with his father and the choices he’s witnessed are not ones he should emulate. That sweet boy of mine nodded in agreement because even at the tender age of fifteen, he knows what I’m saying is true. I told him how desperately I want him to be a good, godly man; how I want him to find a job that he loves; how I want him to choose the right girl to marry who will respect him and who he can cherish; and how I just know he will be an amazing father one day. And I told him that because I love him, I’m going to ride him on his grades and make sure he chooses the right friends and I’m not going to let him quit things and that I pray about these things for him all the time.

There’s only so much we can do. But we can do some things; and we can trust that our children are in the mighty hands of God. History does not have to repeat itself. Not if I can help it. And not if God can either. And trust me, he can.

(c) Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2013

Elisabeth is mom to Sara (16-1/2) and Jack (15). She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing. She is the author of At the Corner of Broken & Love; One Girl, Third World; He Is Just That Into You; In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul. All these books can be purchased on Her upcoming book, Unraveling, is releasing with Abingdon Press in October 2013.

Visit her website and her blog.

If you are in a difficult marriage or find yourself going through a difficult divorce, I have created two private groups on Facebook that I would like to invite you to. Simply email me at for more information.

Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer's Guild.

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