My son’s growth has been stunted

Camden is certain we are stunting his growth.

His argument, he claims, is scientifically valid.

A person can only grow to fit his environment.

It’s been proven.

Camden sleeps on the kitchen table.  Kind of.  Remember, we live in an RV now. The two booths and the table fold down into a make-shift bed.  The length of the “bed” fits Camden’s height perfectly.  He is certain he will not grow in stature due to his sleeping confinement.

The night he announced his predicament, I did take him seriously and went to bed concerned.  As I pondered the situation, the small voice which speaks so clearly to my conscience arose with a whisper.

Indeed, his growth is being stunted.

The truth of the revelation traveled into my heart where it settled into a gritty soil. I knew the depth of the words reached deeper than the measurement a child’s physical height. And I’d have preferred to nod off into a slumber than have my spirit awakened into action.

From Trey Ratcliff at

Isn’t it easier to ignore the truth when it calls for change?

This child of mine is no longer a child.  Close to fifteen, he’s a young man.  And, knocking at the door of 5’11’’, he’s taller than his parents.

As the travel of time adds days to his life, there’s an exposure of the heart indicating his physical growth is progressing more rapidly than his spiritual stature.

With a keen eye and a listening ear in tune with God’s  Spirit, I detect the hidden reefs lying under a seemingly tranquil lagoon.  Outward displays of obedience with impurity brewing beneath the surface.

Can children adopt the family practice of faith as washing the hands before a meal?  Pleasing to the parents are the acts of conformity.  Especially when displayed publicly.

Will the suds penetrate the surface of the skin and launder the heart?  The clean actions have been practiced and honed to perfection.  An outward purity and dutiful religion to satisfy onlookers and convince the teen-aged  conscience.  Playing by the rules and offering a spotless exterior.

Parents seeking surface faith are pleased.  The child sparkles clean.

I am seeking more.  And I am not satisfied.

Children who grow up in solid Christian homes may master the rules but fail to recognize that conformity and obeying Christian practices are not necessarily indicators of true faith.

(Lydia Brownback)

I have offered to this first-born a family tradition.  Passing down the rhythms of ritual.  Handing him habits of homage.  Yet, somehow missing the enduring transfer of faith which transcends mere knowledge and finds absorption in his heart.

And, indeed, I have stunted his growth.

The purity of our heart will be revealed only when it is tested.

And it is not likely to be tested when someone else makes the majority of our decisions for us.

(Lydia Brownback)

Through a gentle hand God guides me back to understanding.  These children, the ones who grow into young men, must walk.  No longer carried on the caregiver’s hip.  Just as Camden asserted, young men cannot grow if they are confined.  Mothers must release their young and allow them to explore.  And even to fall.

the old wild stampede by stuck in customs via flickr

Finding their faith on their own.

Receiving nourishment from Christ needed to grow in spiritual stature.

And as we set our children free to choose, to walk without our continual escort, we learn to trust.  A deepening of faith through the constancy of communion is required to believe.

The certainty there is One far more credentialed in raising teenagers.

The only One who is capable of stretching the limbs.

And facilitating growth.

14 thoughts on “My son’s growth has been stunted”

  1. Thanks Cristal! Once again, you stated so well what is in my heart. I am praying for the hearts of our precious children. No cups washed on the outside only. No white-washed tombs. I want these children to know Christ, and for Him to know them- for REAL!

  2. Dear Cristal,

    Your blog so aptly gives reasons why the years between 18 and 22 are so very, very important for young people. It is the first time they must truly make their own decisions (if their parents release them, that is). My youngest being 27, I have gone through the launching 4 times. For each one there were the same choices: 1) go to school, 2) go into the Service (military, Vista, Church Missions,,,,) or 3) get a job. Whichever they chose they were moving out and providing for themselves. My husband and I were in complete agreement about this. The one that chose to get a job soon discovered she could not live on minimum wage, but the only way she learned that was to experience it. As long as I provided everything for my children, they did not have to rely on Christ. We can empower them as children, giving them small amounts of freedom along the way to get them ready for the launch, but once they are grown, they must figure it out. Hopefully, they gained the wisdom to do so in the home. It sounds like you are thinking rightly about all this. I love your quotes.


    1. Thank you, Dawn, for the encouragement. I like your advice to empower them and teach THEM to rely on Christ. You seem to know exactly what I need to hear. Any chance we could meet for coffee? 😉

  3. If you look at all the biblical promises for parents who walk close to God, you’ll soon discover some amazing facts. You children will be blessed and they will also hunger for God. Thus, your main responsibility is to walk close to God. God will handle your children, even those who sleep on tables.

  4. Hi Cristal,
    I appreciate your honest and insightful thoughts on negotiating the tricky process of allowing our children appropriate freedom and yet responsibly guiding and protecting them. Yes, God is the One who oversees this process and ultimately grows us all up. (Actually, I think I grew up as I raised my children:) Somehow God manages to stretch us all perfectly. Your son is blessed with parents to live their faith – a powerful example that he will follow. Bless you and your family. Judy

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