It’s been a tough week in our house. It’s been a week of pinkeye, double ear infections, more pinkeye, tantrums, more pinkeye, mom’s monstrous cold, and still more pinkeye. Yep, to say this mama has been frazzled, well that’s putting it mildly! We’ve been caged in the house, me and my littles, for an entire week. I can honestly say we’ve done it all to keep busy and my tiny natives are starting to get restless. I’m growing restless.
With this recent onslaught of mild illnesses, increased tantrums and short tempers, I’ve been questioning my parenting skills. A lot.
I’ve been battling feelings of failure and wondering if my kids are getting everything out of life they could be. Are they lacking in some area because of my shortcomings? Having walked the road of infertility and adoption not once but twice, I had a vision of my parenting skills long before I held a baby in my arms. I always knew the kind of mom I would be and how I would have my “act together”. I would be crafty, organized and oh so biblical! I would be one of “those moms” that everyone looked at and thought wow, how does she do it and radiate so much joy at the same time?
But I’m not that mom. Not in the slightest.
I am the frazzled mom and the disorganized mom; the one who’s car resembles a buffet line because of kid’s food thrown everywhere.
I am the mom that has little time for crafts and would rather head to Hobby Lobby to purchase a DIY look-alike than to spend my precious minutes alone crafting with paint and scissors.
I am the mom that fluffs a load of laundry three times because the thought of folding it and putting it away makes my tired eyes cross.
The list of my shortcomings goes on and on. I look at my long list of “failures”, of who I wanted to be as a mom, and where I am in reality, and realize my weary spirit longs to be refreshed by God’s truth, not my own warped version of the truth..
I flip the pages of my old worn out Bible, longing for solace and suddenly, I am free of the feelings of inadequacy and shortcomings.
Looking at the truth of God’s Word I know that I created the bondage of the “perfect mom syndrome” myself. That is not how God sees motherhood or the charge He gives for raising godly kids. God does not call us women to be supermom, capable of raising kids, while looking perfect and having squeaky clean floors. (Whew!) He knows as humans, how much we utterly and desperately need His strength and His joy in every aspect of life, but especially in parenting.
While the superficial areas of my parenting may need some work, organization and ok, maybe it was time to clean my car, I knew the mother God was calling me to be.
He calls me to share the Truth of the sacrifice of Jesus with my children and to point them towards a relationship with Him.
He calls me to pray for my kids and with them, not just before a meal or on holidays, but in the fits and tantrums of the everyday.
He calls me to teach my kids about Scripture, God’s Words gifted to us as THE navigational tool in life, with the One True God as our sacred guide.
He calls me to demonstrate grace when it is undeserved and to show compassion when my kids are brokenhearted.
He calls me to love others out of the overflow of love Christ has for us, His bride.
He calls me to prepare my children, this next generation, to be a salt and light to a world full of brokenness and shame; to proclaim Jesus as a shelter from the storm and a refuge for the weary.
He calls me to teach my children what unconditional love is and to demonstrate it our lives, in my relationship with them and with others.
He calls me to embrace forgiveness when a wrong has been done, even when forgiveness is undeserved.
Having reset my internal compass to once again point to the One True North, I realized that when Hubs and I committed to raise our children with solid biblical values, we were going against the grain of society and how the world believes we should raise children.
The world says I need to handle my children carefully as to not damage their fragile self-esteem. The world says to strive always to be the best and to never settle for anything less than 1st place. The world says that Christians have to be quiet and not stand up for the principles of God or be labeled as a hate-monger.
While God sees my heart and parenting intentions as trying to glorify His name, the world may see failure, since the Gospel is not always popular.
Looking at the biblical values we are praying we instill in our children, the world says I fail my kids when:
1. My kids are taught right from wrong on social issues.
Although my children are still young, I will teach them to respect and see everyone through the filtered lenses of the grace of the Lord. I pray that as they mature in their faith and understanding of the world, that they will love all with the open acceptance of Jesus, but will not condone behavior and lifestyles that go against God’s principles.
When Jesus walked the earth, He ate with and befriended some questionable characters; the woman at the well, the prostitute, Zacchaeus. He loved and accepted these low-lifes and these degenerates with open arms. He didn’t judgmentally turn away because of their behavior or lifestyle, but pointed and steered them to God’s truth. He loved them where they were, but didn’t allow them to be complacent in their sinful ways and stay in a lifestyle that did not honor Him. He beckoned these to follow Him and to turn their back on the ways of the world.
My prayer for my children is the same. That they will welcome and love those who are lost and searching for hope and peace, but not condone their sin. May my children learn to see through eyes of grace and the heart of Jesus, but point those with a wayward lifestyle to truth and encourage others to follow Jesus and abandon their sinful ways. May my children learn to compare the lifestyles and values of this world against the Word of God and in love, not judgement, take a stand for what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
2. I say no and don’t give in to demands.
This fall marks the start of my 15th year of teaching. Wow! When did the time fly by? But I am saddened at a continuing trend in our children.
We are in the age of entitlement where kids feel they deserve everything they want because they are OWED something.
In actuality, we are all owed nothing except death. Christ died for us so we could experience life with Him eternally and therefore, when we have a relationship with Him, we are given the free gift of eternal life which we could never ever earn or deserve, even on our best days.
Parenting with that truth, changes everything and in our house, we don’t give in to every whim and demand. When my children get older with a long list of wants, we will make them earn and work towards wants so they can appreciate hard work, the satisfaction of earning and to learn to not store up treasures here on earth. Just as we are all entitled to death because of our sinful nature, we deserve nothing here on earth, including fancy gadgets and toys.
3. I pray for my children be sexually pure until marriage.
Wherever you look and around every corner, there are evidences of sexuality and promiscuity being glorified. I am mortified at how our culture glorifies what is to be a sacred, holy and pure union between a husband and wife. I long to shelter my children as much as possible from this. I want my children to be educated about sexual experiences from a biblical worldview, not the views of the world. But a biblical worldview on sex, does not mean ignorance or lack of education in the home. I want to teach them to honor their bodies, because they are temples of the living God and that sex is a deeply fulfilling, spiritual aspect of marriage, but that outside of marriage, it’s a road that leads to destruction and heartache.
While I am not a parenting expert and don’t even have the toddler years all figured out, I know I want to raise my children to love and honor the Lord, no matter the cost. My biggest parenting prayer is that my children would come to know the Lord as their Savior and live a life glorifying and honoring to Him.
So if that makes me a failure as a parent in the eyes of the world, I can live with that. My car may always need detailing and my laundry may need a couple of cycles to fluff, but as long as I continue to lay my children before the Lord and to do my best to raise them to love and know Him, I have done what God has called me to do as a parent and I am not a failure.