You are reading this very likely because the title got you “in the feels”. You get this.
I’ve had days (not “a day”) where my Hallelujah Prayer (you know…the kind we busy moms sort of toss up on the fly) has been something like, “Lord, this parenting thing…I got nuthin’.”
Here is what I was reminded of today.
“I got nuthin'” is how I came to Him. I forget that a lot. I guess because my comparing heart keeps trying to convince itself that “all those other moms” seem to have something.
I’m just a regular mom. I don’t have a stylist, personal trainer, chef, or assistant. I’m just plugging away. Sometimes I make Hamburger Helper for supper. The floor of my van is often a graveyard for dead french fries. My kids don’t dress perfectly, talk perfectly, or anything else perfectly. They are kids.
Here is where I’ve come to. I need to walk in obedience. I need to love the Lord. I need to accept those things with grace through which God is trying to engineer humility in me. Parenting often does that. Have you noticed?
When I leave this life, I want my kids to remember me as someone who loved Him first, and because I did that, I was sometimes “too strict”, and said hard things. Not because I wanted them to be respected members of the community, or to honor the Heeney name. I want them to understand that I wanted them to live wise and obedient lives because they should have thankful hearts. To foster such a heart of gratitude, such an understanding of what grace really means, that every good and perfect gift, however small, causes the automatic response, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?”
Now I’m going to sound like that “older generation”. Our young people have such a stifling sense of entitlement. Everything must happen now, and exactly as preferred. There is no struggle to build spiritual muscle. There is no waiting so that patience might have its perfect work. So, it’s okay when I say “No”…this is why. Not everything in life is “yes” and “right away”. In fact, very little really is.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
Yes, Dr. Seuss…waiting is something we do a lot of, so we’d better acquire some skills to do it well. That goes for me as a parent, too. I can make myself exasperated, waiting for our kids to have skills that are still too mature for the years they’ve accumulated so far. So often I want my kids to hurry up and grow up, and still stay my “babies” at the same time. Talk about mixed signals.
So, Mom Who Isn’t Everything…lean hard. God never wastes time (even when we’re waiting), and He’s always purposeful (especially when we feel we’ve “got nuthin'”). Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. That is your responsibility in this “train up a child” job description. Be consistent. Be approachable. Be honest and candid. Learn to apologize. Communicate clearly. The “not depart from it” part is up to them. We can force outward conformity to all that we believe “good kids” should do and say and be…and all we might accomplish is a “standing up on the inside” kind of submission…and a bittter heart. In the end, what they truly have become inside will dictate what they do with what they have learned. Our part is to let them see through our lives, let them learn not just by what we say…but through our actions and reactions (ouch) that “not departing” is totally worth it. It is the safe place. The good place. The place that is worthwhile when everything else slips through the fingers. The place that is indeed…so completely everything.