Apron strings. Some kids want to begin doing their own thinking and planning and positioning once they begin to enter adulthood. Some are vocal about these things from birth. I have some of each. So, I ask myself:
- What am I doing?
- God, are you sure you knew what you were doing when you gave me these kids?
- Are my expectations of myself realistic concerning this role?
- How am I prioritizing?
- What kind of things are being “caught” from me that aren’t necessarily being “taught”?
You know, things like that.
I think of verses like this:
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:4
I’m getting the meaning of this, the longer I’m a mom. The joy comes because I know the uphill battle that is involved in walking in truth. I know the obstacles, the skirmishes, the adversary. I know what deliberation is required for me to walk that way. I rejoice when I see anyone, including my kids, succeeding in grace-full living. I personally believe that trophies of this sort trump any other accomplishment of God’s creative hand. A loving, obedient saint of God is something to be marveled at more than any canyon, galaxy, rainbow or sunset. It is miraculous when God can do such a thing with a pile of dust.
Well, what I’ve needed to re-order is where I thought my joy should come from…my association with the obedience of my child. Moms, if we’re not careful, can attach a lot of weight to our kids and what they look like (Is his hair neat? Did I miss a button? Are they sitting up straight?), or how they behave (Was she thankful? Was he respectful? Are they sitting still and acting like good kids?). See, those questions show that I am in actuality more concerned about the reflection that their appearance or behavior will have upon me. What will people think if …? We can depend upon our children to supply part of our identity, and when we begin to go down that path, we get in trouble. Same thing with getting “who we are” from our spouses…but that is for another post. In short, I’ll say that I know my identity is in Christ…God sees me on behalf of His work because He is Jehovah Tsidkenu, “The Lord, our Righteousness.” My life is “hid with Christ, in God.”
Verses like these hit me square between the eyes:
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Dude! (a common exclamation of our son’s when he is very impressed with something) Is this all up to me?? Gulp.
The training part is up to me. The departing part is not. I must be faithful as I can to teach biblical standards, and to live them out in God’s grace, by example. The way I look at the latter part of that verse is this: when they are grown, they will be without excuse. If I’ve been faithful as I humanly can, and I make things right when I humanly fail, I have done what I could. The choice is then theirs.
There are parents in the Bible who were godly, and their children rebelled. There are parents in the Bible who had a contempt for the things of God, and by His divine hand, He somehow nurtured a heart after His own out of that contrary experience. In the end, there are choices to be made.
All God is asking me is, “What is that in thine hand?” Right now, depending on the day and time, it could be an iron, a phonics book, my Bible, a ladle, a toilet brush. Am I faithful?
“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”~1 Cor. 4:2
That’s all. That’s plenty! Am I faithful to this calling?
When my kids look back upon their childhoods, will they remember a faithful example in me? Will they be able to say they witnessed what Christianity looks like in the trenches? Did they see faith in action? Did they learn to love God more because of how I did? Will they remember that His word had priority in my life? These are the important questions.
Do I want my children to walk in truth? Of course I do. Can I guarantee it? No. Can I pray for it? Yes. Can I be there for them, even in their adult years, to support them and help them along on the journey? Sure. Should I consider it a personal failure and devastation if they choose their own way? It would grieve me deeply. But I’ve come to realize that this kind of life event cannot cripple a mother’s faith…it cannot render her useless. It must not taint her resolve. If this is the result of a child’s failure, then the adversary has won two battles, not just one. I’ve seen it happen…a mother crippled, paralyzed, frozen in the midst of the fray.
This is war. My allegiance is to my God. Parents who love the Lord and are trying to bring up their children to do the same will know opposition. No wiggle room here. It will, of a certainty, happen. We speak of Ephesians 6, and putting on the armor of God…but do we?
One of my favorite prints (as far as Christian artwork goes) is one called “Spiritual Warfare“. Surprisingly, it is not depicting someone heavily clad in the helmet of salvation all the way down to righteously covered feet, wielding a giant sword as his children cower behind him. No, if you click on the link, you’ll see that it shows a father on his knees by the bedside of his child. We are not sufficient for this type of thing. We must give our observant adversary something to behold…our alliance with the One who has overcome the world.
“…The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.”~Psalm 24:8
Pray for your children. Pray with your children. Pray for them while you are with them. Help them to see that the posture of the victorious Christian is a humble one. May it become etched into their memory because they’ve seen it so often.
This is overwhelming to me. The whole thing.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”~Romans 8:31
Parenting is a daunting responsibility. We are not alone. Be faithful for Him.