Perhaps the hardest thing to accept as a parent is that you will never be the perfect parent and your kids won’t be perfect either. And that’s okay. Sometimes the mistakes we or our children make are just that – silly little mistakes that turn into family stories and legends. At other times, the mistakes actually involve sin and hearts and lives can be broken.
Kathi Lipp was a mom who had children who made some choices that would make any Christian mother cringe. At first she was embarrassed, but quickly realized she was not the only mother who had done the best she could do to dedicate her children to God only to have them make choices that pulled them away from God. She ultimately decided to write the book I Need Some Help Here!: Hope for When Your Kids Don’t Go according to Plan to help other mothers.
The biggest gift Lipp’s book gives moms is the reassurance that they are not alone. Many times it feels safer to present our “perfect” families to our church “family”. Unfortunately, it ends up isolating us from the people who can give us the most support when our children are struggling. I hope Lipp’s book encourages moms to open up to other Christian moms when their kids are making bad choices. The prayers and support from our Christian brothers and sisters can often help.
Within her efforts to encourage, Lipp breaks her advice up into nine areas where our children can struggle. Some involve when our child decides to walk away from God, but a lot of her advice is about children who are just struggling. She covers everything from being different to being ill to being overwhelmed.
Within each chapter, Lipp shares the story of one or more mothers and children who have struggled with the particular issue. The stories she shares are respectful, yet detailed enough to be helpful. She then gives four or five practical things a mother can do when she finds her child (and herself) in the particular situation. Some of her suggestions are what you would expect -prayer, scripture, getting outside help. She also gives reminders of godly principles and a practical tip or two. Lipp is also a strong believer in sharing what “not to do” as much as what “to do” in a given situation.
While I agree that no matter how well we parent, bad things happen and our children can and will still make bad choices. I do differ from her in that I strongly believe there are proactive things you can do to lessen the chances your child will make certain poor choices or end up in certain situations. Her book is more from the “horse is out of the barn” so forgive yourself and do what you can to improve the situation line of thinking. Because of that, I think it is helpful for parents whose children are already in bad situations, but will not help you parent your child away from anything proactively.
If your child is struggling with sin or just from living in a fallen world, I think you will find comfort in this book. You may even discover a few practical suggestions to help you on your journey. Ultimately though, this book can only be the first step in helping you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and find the help you need from God and other Christians.
If your children aren’t struggling at the moment, I think the most important lesson from this book is that many parents are hurting badly. Keep your eyes and ears open for them. Reach out to them and offer them a sympathetic ear. Pray with them. Share this book or its ideas. Mainly, reflect God’s love to them, because ultimately that’s what we all need the most.
This book was provided to me for free in exchange for my honest review.