I am writing to you about the distress in our family. My husband and I met at Bible college and have now been married for 21 years. We have eleven children, ages 3 - 21 years. There is also a new baby on the way in November. Our main troubles started last year when our oldest daughter left home and went totally away from the way we brought her up. Our home has reached the point where my husband and I feel totally defeated. When we have to correct one of the children, we get blasted from all the older children, and it is always turned around on my husband and me. I truly used to love being a parent, but lately I find no joy in it at all. How can we get back control of our home before this situation ruins our marriage completely? We have been getting your newsletters for the last two years, and they are such an encouragement, but I just don't know how we can turn things around to get them where they need to be. My husband and I took a drive yesterday, and we both just wept about the condition of our home and how our children seem to respect us so little. We truly feel so defeated, but we have been praying desperately that God would somehow show us what we need to do to make our relationship with our children better. We still have so many young children in our home. We pray we can turn things around and get them right. If you would be able to help us, we would be very thankful.
Dear Broken Hearted,
Your letter was truly sad. We receive so many letters similar to yours. We do want to help. I pray that what I say will direct you to healing. I read your letter to my 17-year-old daughter, Shoshanna and to Lora, a visiting 19-year-old girl. I asked them, “What is it that makes some families prosper in the Lord and others crumble when their children get older?” Both girls said that if Mama and Daddy manifest peace, joy, and love in their relationship, all the older kids will respect them and will desire to have the same when they marry.
We are all drawn to cheerful, loving people. Mama has to honor Daddy. Daddy needs to respond by growing into a loving husband. This is the soil where the roots of good families develop. When a tomato plant lacks a mineral in the soil, the plant might grow tall and green like it’s counterpart, and the fruit might be large, but, as it ripens, the fruit begins to rot. So many families have the late rot disease. They have kept up the outward appearance all those years as the children grew to be adults, but one day the children got tired of the charades and went out to do what had been in their hearts all along. When a farmer has planted, watered, weeded, fertilized, and cultivated his garden, the sudden appearance of rotten fruit is terribly disappointing. When parents have raised a child and discover rottenness, they feel like complete failures, for they know there will not be a next season.
Begin by searching the Scripture concerning a husband and wife. View our husband and wife videos. Learn to abide in a state of good will toward your spouse. Stop picking the gnat from your spouse’s eye, and work on the boulder in your own. Don’t take personal offense. Become one flesh, one mind. Then go to your children and tell them you have failed, that you have missed God’s will as a couple. Tell them that you are rekindling your love. Let them view our husband and wife videos with you. Mother, listen to the Hidden Woman with your daughters, and let them see your broken heart and your determined, joyful spirit to obey God.
If you are morally earnest, a new biblical understanding will change your heart and your life. Children are ready to forgive when they see broken, repentant parents. We have sometimes given out questionnaires to the teens in attendance at our seminars. When asked what change they would like to see in their homes, they are nearly unanimous in saying something to the effect, “I want my parents to be happy with each other. I want my mom to treat my dad with respect. I want my dad to stop being so mad. I want my parents to love each other.” Out of the mouth of babes….
It took many years to build your house on sandy ground, it will take a while to get your foundation on the rock. But if you obey God, you will see more than just restoration. In time, when your children come to believe that this is not just a stage you are going through, but that you are really sincere, ask them to listen to our tapes on child training and to help you get control over the habits the younger ones are developing.
We will pray for you that God will restore what the locusts have eaten.