“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9)
Tough day on the mothering front yesterday… Was already weary and hormone-laden and not feeling up to the task of parenting my little ones. You know those days when you wonder, ‘Would it really be all that bad if I just stuck a video in for the next, say, 4 hours — till dinner?’ And felt much less-than-up to appropriately and consistently meeting the onslaught of rebellion and defiance that was presented to me by my three-and-a-half year old.
I prayed that God would send me clear and direct encouragement… and he didn’t fail me. In the midst of a google search for a specific phrase about obedience I was looking for, I stumbled upon a blog called “Metro Moms,” affiliated with C. J. Mahaney’s Metro Life Church in MD. In March they did a series of parenting-related posts based on the book Do Hard Things (about which I’ve been reading great stuff, so I’ll have to get my hands on a copy). Here are a few of the quotes that God used to touch, convict, and encourage me yesterday:
–Why is training and disciplining my children so hard? Because we want an easy life. We want things to go as we plan; easy and without a fight. When things don’t go the way we think they should, or our children don’t respond the way we want or as quick as we would like them to then we have conflict. What makes training our children hard is our will. We want control and when we don’t get it we give in to anger and critical judgments. I need to be more interested in my children’s soul than my convenience.
–Are you tempted toward self-congratulations because your kids are “better” than others? More quick to obey? Less wild and have more self-control? Or are you quick to wish your kids were like the children I just described? Do you feel like a failure as a mom because your children rarely obey the first time?… Maybe you are working hard to consistently train them with God’s help, but the fruit is not yet evident… Remind yourself regularly that God is the only one who can change their hearts and save them from their sin. Depending on their age, you may be successfully or unsuccessfully modifying their behavior but what truly matters is what is happening in their hearts…and only God knows and can change that.
–My concern for young moms is that you will fall into the same temptation I battled when my children were small. I put more weight on what I did than was biblical. I knew I needed to look to God, but too often I leaned on my efforts to the neglect of deep dependence on Him. So as we walk through this child training series, please remind yourself regularly that the commands of God are accompanied by the grace to fulfill them as we put our trust in God to do His critical part as we humbly do our lesser part. Lord, thank you for Your promise to help us!
Big takeaway for me: my kids aren’t mine, they’re God’s. He cares about them – their hearts, actions, emotions, everything – far more than I do. It is important that I fulfill my call to mother them well and train them in godly ways – hugely important. But it’s even more important that I remember whose they are, and that I bathe all my efforts and interactions with them in prayer and a surrendered heart that trusts God above all things. Humbly entrusting my kids to god. So long as I do that, and so long as I persevere and remember that no effort I expend within God’s will on behalf of my children will be wasted (as Gal 6:9 reminds me), then God will be honored. His joy and peace can reign in me and in our household. And I can let the rest go.