Navigating Your Child's Education: Grades 9-12

4 min read

Ask for the Ancient Paths

Oct 3, 2019 7:00 PM

Life. One minute we’re a teenager and the next minute we’re raising one. Don’t you remember being a carefree teen driving our social lives into action with the windows down and the radio up? Mom and dad helped with gas, provided our every meal and did our laundry. Some of us worked because we could, not because we had to. We worked out because we could, not because we had to (ugh). Then off to college where the great big world awaited, exposing us to different perspectives, new pedagogies, opportunities for endless mistakes, and possibly our faith sacrificed on the altar of compromise. Next, we navigated careers, marriage, sleepless nights with babies, toddlers, teens challenging our battered brains, all the while plowing full steam ahead on this journey called life. Extemporaneous challenges can await at each new turn, plowing us right off a cliff if we refuse to process life as it progresses. We’ve seen the wreckage countless times--often tempted to join debauchery’s debris--for none of us are immune.

Throughout history, anthropology points to depravity. Dr. Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, equates our life before Christ as driving in reverse, unclear of our path and causing continual chaos. He says, “Every day was a backward trip from where God would have liked us to go.”[1] Salvation is the grace to drive our cars in the right direction. There are still unknown bumps and curves in the road, but we are moving forward in hope, with heaven awaiting our arrival.

As Christian parents the landscape of life is continually shifting. Each new milestone often presents a new trajectory, and we can easily get off course. God’s pre-exilic wisdom to Jeremiah, written 2600 years ago still applies to us in postmodernity:

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” (6:16).

New call-to-action

Deborah, Ruth, Isaiah, Daniel, Mary, Priscilla, Phoebe, Peter, James and John, all forerunners of our faith who set an example of walking in steady obedience, were led by the Holy Spirit to accomplish their life’s purpose. Some, like David, got off track, but God’s grace meets us at every failure. Scars are acquired through unavoidable pain, but we find comfort in knowing this ancient path is paved in grace.

I’ve learned the key to traversing ahead and avoiding the proverbial pitfall is this: the Spirit of God who indwells each believer. Jesus Christ told us “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 5:15), yet many believers remain in the driver's seat of life. It’s not our place. Mastering rules and knowledge doesn’t get us very far. We’ve been given the Holy Spirit for a reason… we need him! Becoming a Christian and remaining in control is the antithesis of faith. We are wise to yield to the Holy Spirit, abdicating our jurisdiction to him.

How do we surrender control and thrive on this faith-filled journey?

Some of my dear friends and I have found freedom in the simple prayer: “Help.”

Beginning the day with prayer has become a staple to my morning—not because I’m super spiritual but because I am super desperate for God’s divine intervention in my life and the lives of those I love, or who are hard to love. Kneeling is an ancient practice of surrender to One who is greater than us. It’s a way to humble ourselves and admit our inadequacies. And when we feel our grip tighten throughout the day, we can continually relinquish our reign through prayer; for true greatness is built on humility.

The godly heritage we long to give our families is not constructed with human hands.

The eternal God wants to parent our hearts before we can properly guide our children, being an example of a dependent disciple.

Tumultuous paths are inevitable, but as Christians surrendered to Jesus we are driving our cars in the right direction. The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, but we can resist him and stand firm in our faith (1 Peter 5:8-9). Christ has redeemed us. He conquered sin and death and has enabled us to walk in victory. His Spirit guides us through every switchback we face. And just maybe we need to take a break from the bills, dishes and laundry, jump in the car, roll the windows down, turn the radio up and sing along to our favorite 80s song… even if our teen rolls their eyes in disapproval.

[1] Mark L. Bailey, “Alive to Forward,” DTS Magazine, (Dallas Theological Seminary: Summer 2019 Vol. 5, No. 2.), 2.

Elizabeth Fields
Written by Elizabeth Fields

With a degree in Art Education and involvement in working in a classroom, church planting, and youth ministry, Elizabeth is currently working toward a master's degree in Christian studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her husband have three school-aged children. As a mom of three, Elizabeth is passionate about modeling a faith her kids want to imitate.