"You're a good mom," my seven year-old whispered before bed. I was stunned. This from the son who thinks the world revolves around him. Honestly, I needed to hear it because today I did not feel like a good mom. I felt like a maid, a cook, a mediator, a manager, and an "Oh why can't you just get your shoes on when I ask you to?" inquirer. Throw in some massive anxiety about my children needing loads of professional help to untangle the broken mess of emotions they call mom, and call it a day.
God I look to you
I won't be overwhelmed
Give me vision
To see things like you do
God I look to you
You're where my help comes from
Give me wisdom
You know just what to do
- Jenn Johnson
When I feel like I am getting it all wrong, when I worry that my children will never outgrow the selfishness in their hearts, when I think about the overwhelming task of bringing them up in the Lord, I get on my knees. And I make sure to have tissues close by.
Praying for each of them specifically, I am reminded that no amount of correction and training in righteousness can fill a heart with love. Discipline does not mold them into a new creation. Only Christ in their hearts can change them from the inside out. Only the love of God experienced personally manifests outwardly as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So this will be the bedrock of my prayers, along with wisdom to know how to move forward day by day.
It does not mean that all standards for behavior get tossed out the window along with consequences. But it helps me see my children differently. I cannot expect them to ooze selfless love before they have met the one who is the ultimate gift of love. My job is to point them to him and watch in amazement as he takes these little lives and uses them for his glory.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
God of perfect love, fill me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control toward my children. Give me realistic expectations of them in these tender years. Remind me of the eternal importance of my prayers as I take my anxiety to you. Amen.