Read Luke 15:11-32
Borrowed from Mary Ostyn at OwlHaven
I’ve always known– intellectually, anyway — that it is not my job to be a perfect parent. I’m human and I make mistakes. And as a Christian, I know that Jesus loves me and died for my sins. I don’t have to labor under the burden of needing to be perfect.
But here’s what I’ve come to realize recently. Even though Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross released me from that need to be perfect, for years as a mom I’ve been clinging to that burden anyway. You see, I know my actions affect my kids and the last thing I want is to be that proverbial millstone– dragging my kids down because I’m not patient enough or focused enough or wise enough to respond appropriately at various moments in their lives.
Certainly any mom who cares about her kids wants to do the best job possible, and looks for ways to handle difficulty with more wisdom and grace next time. But recently God has been opening my eyes, and showing me how much my endless quest for ‘success’ (whatever that is) has left me living under the law instead of in freedom.
I cannot mess up God’s plan for my children’s lives.
Even in my worst, weakest moments, I do not possess that power.
I can’t tell you how freeing that realization is to me.
Because unfailingly my MOST frustrating moments as a mom are when I feel ineffective– when I’m repeating a lesson or dealing with an issue and things.aren’t.working. At least not on a here-and-now visible-to-me level. And when I feel ineffective, I start flailing around in frustration, wondering what I should be doing differently. And pretty soon I’m yelling at my kids, which leaves me feeling even more aggravated and ineffective and hopeless.
What am I focusing on in those trying moments? Results. Or lack thereof.
Somehow I’m thinking if I just come up with the right combination of rewards and consequences, of words and wisdom, of grace and grit, that life will somehow miraculously get all unsnarled.
But here’s the thing. I can’t grow my kids’ souls any more than I can help them sprout new teeth. Sure, I can feed and water and encourage and influence and hug and love.
But the growing? That’s between my kids and their God.
So instead of fluffing up like a ruffled chicken when I’m not having my desired effect on my lil world, I need to put myself back in my place. Chill. Be faithful. Do my little bit. Obey to the best of my frail ability. And leave the results up to the real Worker in my children’s lives.
He is able to do immeasurably more than I can ever ask or imagine.