Letting Your Adult Children Go

Part One of Three Parts: MollyCoddlers

It was a typical beautiful spring day and the spirit of puppy love was in the air. A young 13 year old boy and girl sat outside on a lawn swing. The boy held a single rose and lifted it toward the girl. Before she could take possession, the girl’s father stood up from behind the swing and pointed a leaf blower at the young man’s face and squeezed the trigger. The humiliated boy left with nothing left but the stem of the once existent rose. The young lady angrily folded her arms and screamed at him, “Da-a-a-ad!

As a father, I can relate to this father’s action. I say, “Hey! That’s my baby girl.” The previous scene is nothing more than the product of an advertising agent’s imagination, but it triggered many memories of each one of my kids. Like the aforementioned dad, I no doubt provoked each one of my kids at one time or the other in their life, albeit maybe differently. You don’t believe me, ask any one of them how I probably brought them to wrath in my exuberance to protect them as a dad.

v4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord [Ephesians 6:4 KJV].

You’ll have to ask them as to whether I was a good dad or not. However, the only justice and redemption that I have to my actions, as a father, is that most of my kids are now parents (Install a Happy Face here, lol). The old adage apparently holds true, what goes around, comes around. We spend at least 18 years raising, loving, feeding, housing, clothing, nurturing, and protecting our kids from everything and everyone that would do them harm.

We do our best to teach them our values, our beliefs, the differences between right and wrong, and bring them up in the admonition of the Lord. It is that love and investment in our children that creates a major struggle for most parents in letting go of their kids after they leave home. To this I can attest and plead guilty. Does our love stop after they’re gone from the roost? In a word, no!. To wit, my kids have been pretty good about allowing me a certain amount of latitude and deceleration of my dad mode. They’ve allowed me to be dad on a number of occasions.

We teach our kids to be self-sufficient and when they finally do become self-sufficient and leave the nest, it feels like they do not need us anymore. I wore many hats as a dad: parent, protector, teacher, nurturer, counselor, provider, and even a referee’s hat. Then they left. . .and I lost all my hats and most of my influence. I am very proud of all my kids and who they’ve become, but the outside world continues to hammer them.

Now that they are all gone away from the nest, what will I do with all this residual love that I have in my heart for them? For in my heart, I’m not finished being a dad yet. (My youngest has kids who have kids. Yep, I’m a great grandpa. Where did I leave my cane?) Anyway, I’ll always remember each of their births, their first steps, their first boo boos, and all their graduations. I still want to rush to their aid every time they are in trouble. I’m used to protecting and caring for them. I’ve had at least 24 years of practice since the last one left home. Lord, help me in my need.

When the kids were young, I could monitor their every moment, control their environment, and guard against any harm that would befall them. Now that we no longer control their environment, where they go, what they do, and who they let influence them, why are so many parents struggling, including me, with letting them go?

Has anyone looked outside lately or turned on the TV at all? The world is a very nasty and scary place. For one, there is a group of extremists that are beheading, stabbing, drowning, torturing, and shooting thousands of Christians to death all over the world for no other reason than that of being a Christian [1]. If that isn’t bad enough, there are the daily crimes and mayhem of murder, rape, corruption, pornography, persecution, and drugs. Do we even have to ask for the reason of our struggle?

At the heart of our reluctance in letting go of our adult kids [2], is obviously the spirit of fear. This spirit can bind us up [3] if we allow it to happen. It really tests our faith. I know that it has tested mine. I am the consummate mollycoddler.

Next week in the second of three segments of Letting Our Adult Kids Go, we will go over the issue of faith and see if the Bible can help us with any solutions. Any dads out there have a story?
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[1] Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 5:45. Matthew 24:21. It is the times in which we live.
[2] They’ll always be our kids.
[3] 2 Timothy 1:7

JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part Nine of Nine: The Wedding

Once they were back at the father’s house, the couple would enter what is known as the Huppah. This was the second ceremony and required by the Talmud (Traditions of the Elders). The Huppah was originally a four-posted structure with an enclosed cloth covering. It very well could have been any structure or room that had been designated as the Huppah and belonging to the groom.

Wedding Chamber (Nissu’in)

Here the wedding ceremony would take place and then the taking (consummation) of the bride (Nissu’in). Nissu’in literally means, “Taking.” The covering was sometimes a talit, which is a Jewish prayer shawl. At the ceremony, the groom and the bride wore crowns and they dressed extravagantly.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom entered the huppah for seven days and there they would consummate the marriage. Only until recently was it even required that a Rabbi officiate at a wedding ceremony.

During the seven days of Huppah, the marriage festivities would be in full force. After the seventh day, the bride would emerge unveiled and the groom’s friend would show the blood stained bedding to prove that the bride was, in fact, a virgin and that the groom had taken her. It proved that they had consummated the marriage.

Parallels to the Church. . .

Once Christ abducts us (raptured/caught up), He will adorn us with the crown of life [1] and our garments will be the clothes of righteousness [2]. Christ will also wear a crown [3].

The steps of the betrothal have ended and we now stand in the huppah as the Bride of Christ and we will be His Bride forever and ever.

v15 Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He Who sits on the throne will spread His tent over them [Revelation 7:15 NIV].

Another Jewish name for the “Wedding day of the Messiah,” is “The Feast of Trumpets.” Revelation 19:7-9 tells us of the Wedding of the Lamb.

v7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
v8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
v9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God [Revelation 19:7].

It is my contention that the seven days that Christ and His Bride will stay hidden in the huppah, will actually be the seven remaining years of human government before Jesus comes with His Saints [4], (which is His Bride) and the millennial reign. All will see who the true Bride of Christ is [5] because she will not be wearing her veil.

This presupposes that there will be a pre-tribulation rapture of the church [6]. Although this is what the Bible teaches, many think otherwise. The rapture of the church is linked to the tribulation in that the Lord will haul us all out before this time in history. There will be signs.

The Bible teaches a three and a half year tribulation [7] and not seven, but once we see the beginning construction of the temple, we will know that there are seven years left of human government. The Tribulation starts at the abomination of desolation. These are minor points but believers will be debating them until Christ comes. This is just a point of interest. Actually, I believe in pan tribulation, in that it will all pan out.

Do you remember the groom showing the guests the blood stained sheets of the marriage bed? Could the blood stained clothes of Christ at the Cross, be the bloodied clothes shown to the world [8]? As believers, we are Christ’s body and because of His death on the Cross, we are all righteous, holy, true, pure, and His.

Wedding Feast

The bride and groom, along with all the guests would then celebrate with a wedding feast, the marriage supper. This would be a celebration of life [9]. Here the bride and groom would drink a second cup of wine and the festivities would be over. They considered them to be one and complete. In many sects, until entering the Huppah, they did not consider them legally married but the betrothal was very binding, as we’ve already learned.

Parallels to the Church…

Rev 19:10 says, “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” What a great celebration this will be. We will meet all the saints who have gone before us. We will meet Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Paul, and all the others that we have been reading about all these years. All of our friends and relatives who have gone before us will be there.

Best of all we will be one with God and glorified with Him [10]. What Jesus willed in John 17:24 will come to pass. (Is there any doubt?) We will then partake of that second and final cup with Jesus as He promised in Matthew 26:29 and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever [11].

HALLELUJAH to the Lamb of God!!

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[1] 1 Peter 5:4; James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8
[2] Revelation 19:8
[3] Revelation 14:14
[4] 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 1:14
[5] Colossians 3:4
[6] Main Scripture is Revelation 3:10. To learn of 16 more proofs, http://www.thepropheticyears.com/reasons/rapture.htm To those who believe in a seven year tribulation, to them, pre-trib is mid-trib.
[7] Matthew 24: 14, 15; Daniel 7:25, 12:7; Revelation 12:6, 13:5. Time = one year. . .times = two years. . .and half a time = half a year. Forty-two months = 3 1/2 years. 1260 days = 3 1/2 years. This should prayerfully help for some folks with the issue.
[8] Matthew 27:35
[9] Lichaim = Hebrew word for Life
[10] Revelation 21:3, 22, 23
[11] 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 21:3

JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part Eight of Nine: The Warning and abduction

Shofar

When the father felt that the house was satisfactory, he would tell his son to go get his bride. The groom would then take his rams horn and head down the road after his bride. Although it was a romantic gesture to abduct the bride at night, it was not romantic to break into her house to do so. Therefore the bridegroom would use the shofar [1] to warn his bride that he was coming when he got within shouting distance from her house, which he did.

Parallels to the Church…

By custom, no one knew the day or the hour of the groom’s return but the father. Likewise no one knows the day  or the hour of Christ’s return.

v36 But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.
v42 Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh.
v43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through.
v44 Therefore be ye also ready; for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh [Matthew 24:36, 42-44].

When Jesus comes for His bride, He will blow the shofar [2] and we will be taken up in a twinkling of an eye [3].

v6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him [Matthew 25:6].

These are the times that we should be listening for that trumpet sound from heaven. We want to be sure, however, that we are ready for His return. It would be a very dangerous thing for Christ to find us not prepared and without any oil for our lamps [4]. Oil always symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

We are living in the last chapter of Acts and we should be preparing ourselves, anticipating the sound of the shofar and the shout from above. This will signal the return of Jesus Christ, our betrothed when we (the entire body), will be whisked away to the huppah, there to be complete in marriage to Jesus Christ who is our Lord, master, savior, redeemer, and soon coming husband.

Abduction of the Bride

The bridegroom’s father was the only one who knew when the bridegroom would return for his bride. If the father left it up to the bridegroom he would hurry in his construction efforts in order to go get his bride.

As we’ve already learned, the groom would usually arrive in the middle of the night to abduct his bride. The bride considered this to be very romantic. Because of this romanticism, the bride would always be ready to go. She would always have her veil, her lamp, and plenty of oil placed by her bed in case her groom came to steal her away that night.

Parallels to the Church…

Neither will we nor Christ know the day or the hour of his return. Only the Father in heaven [5] knows when He will send Jesus to abduct His Bride. There should be great anticipation for His return, which is part of the Bride’s preparation. We have been in the “Last days” of preparation for 2000 years and will remain in that stage until the return of Jesus Christ for us, which will be the rapture of the church [6] and we will forever be with the Lord, as His Bride. His return should be our biggest and main focus. Are you prepared?

The word rapture is not in the Bible but the phrase, “…shall be caught up…” means the same thing. Come Lord Jesus, come [7].

v16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first;
v17 then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord [1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 RSV].

v34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
v35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
v36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left [Luke 17:34-36].

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[1] Hollowed out rams horn
[2] The shofar was a ram’s horn and used for trumpeting.
[3] 1 Corinthians 15:22
[4] They had to replenish the oil in the lamps every fifteen minutes, so they had to be sure that there was plenty of oil for the trip to the groom’s house. Matthew 25:1-13
[5] Mark 13:32
[6] 1 Thessalonians 4:17
[7] Revelation 22:20

JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part Seven of Eight: Preparation
 
Preparation of the Groom
During the betrothal the bridegroom would spend his time in preparation building an extension onto his father’s house for them to live. Since customs forbade premarital sexual relations before the nuptials, they would spend a year apart while the bridegroom built their house. This mandatory time apart would prove the purity of the bride and that no sexual relations had taken place, because if they had relations, she took a chance on becoming pregnant.

Once the bride accepted the groom’s proposal, he would make the journey back to his father’s house to start construction on their new home. As stated earlier, this was usually an extension of the father’s house.

Parallels to the Church…
At His death, Christ traveled back home to his Father’s house from whence He came to prepare a home for us, his new Bride. It is my contention that as Christians, we are the temple of God [1] making us the many mansions that Christ spoke of in John 14:2. Christ, through the person of the Holy Spirit, is spiritually preparing each of our temples for His return and dwells within each of us. There are many Scriptures that speak to our growth in Christ [2].

Then when we accept the proposal of Christ through the communion, verse three of John 14 reminds us that Christ will come for our spirit [3] at the rapture [4]. Then, as Christ stated in John 14:3, “. . .and will receive you into myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.

Preparation of the Bride
The preparation for the bride was a time of separation, purification, anticipation, and preparation for the groom’s return. The bride would take what they called a mikvah, which is a bath of purification. Even today, Jewish brides need to obtain a certificate to show that they have acquired the ceremonial mikvah.

Parallels to the Church…
The mikvah is the washing of the Word [5]. We are to remain pure to Jesus and not fornicate ourselves to other god’s and committing spiritual adultery [6]. Spiritual adultery would not only be adultery with other gods [7], but is the act of loving and even spending more time with anything or anyone more than we do with God. Chapter five of Ephesians tells us about the parallel of mikvah to the church.

v25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her
v26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word,
v27 and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless [Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV].

v11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God [1 Corinthians 6:11 NIV].

The mikvah is also the baptism of water either through immersion or by sprinkling. There is a baptism of the Holy Spirit as well.

v19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [Matthew 28:19]

v16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost [Acts 11:16].

The parable of the ten virgins [8] tells us always to be ready with our flasks of oil and to be continually full and prepared for the trip. The oil is always representative of the Holy Spirit of God. So be sure that we replenish daily with the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Mortify the flesh daily [9].

Do not be like the five unwise virgins whose flasks were empty, but always to be ready for His return, for we know not the hour of His return [10]. We should make certain that our light shines [11] before the world and that we are always ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us [12].

Our focus should be on Jesus Christ and His return, not the world’s plan. God changes not and what Christ wrote will stand and will happen. So let the world worry about the last days and we can prepare ourselves for the return of our husband.

As the bride of Christ, how can we prepare ourselves for His coming? The baptism of water is the act of separating ourselves from the world and setting ourselves apart. Being in our prayer closet, every day is prudent. Reading His Word daily and going to church regularly is a good way to prepare for His return.

We can use our spiritual gifts for the edification of the body and for our own growth. Fulfilling the great commission given to us by our Lord [13] is the last thing God told us to do, so we should continue to do so.
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[1] 1 Corinthians 3:16
[2] 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 3:17-19; 1 Peter 2:2; Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:15 just to name a few
[3] Ecclesiastes 12:7
[4] 1 Thessalonians 4:17
[5] Ephesian 5:26
[6] 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 2:1-25; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Romans 1:18-32; Matthew 12:43-45; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Jude 1-25; Revelation 21:8
[7] Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 6:14, 8:19; Jeremiah 25:6
[8] Matthew 25:1-13
[9] Romans 8:13
[10] Matthew 24:42
[11] Matthew 5:16
[12] 1 Peter 3:15
[13] Mark 16:15