If there is one thing I want to do well, it’s rearing my children to know God's voice and love his ways. But if there is one area that I feel most inadequate in, it's rearing my children to know God's voice and love his ways, and every other little thing I’m trying to teach them under this larger umbrella, whether it’s tying shoes or polite social interactions.
I panic when I think of my children embarking into adulthood, typically because I imagine that they’ll have to call me to come tie their shoes or they’ll freeze to death because I'm not there to remind them to wear pants and coats in the winter. Or they’ll spend every waking minute in front of a video game console because I’m not there to monitor every second of their activities. Will they ever walk with the Lord? Will they become leaders in their homes and influencers in their communities? Will they love people well? It seems impossible.
And then I remember that a man isn’t built in a day and to keep my eyes in the moment, to take small steps, to do the next thing.
But even for the moment, I often feel powerless and overcome at the mountain in front of me. I feel like I should be better at this than I am. Or maybe it’s that I feel like all these things come easily to a “good mother” so I must not be one. I want to be a good mother but how do I get there?
I am so impatient with myself, so quick to throw my hands up in frustration or surrender. And I find myself thinking that God feels that same way toward me: impatience that I’m not further along, frustration that I fail, irritation at my faithless worrying. Those thoughts show that I often perceive God huffing at my weaknesses, wishing I could get it together already, arms crossed and foot tapping. The good thing is, however, that he knows we are weak and that he doesn’t expect us to be anything else.
He’s been talking to me about this. Some of it has been conviction. All of it has been hope-filled. The main point that he is driving into my heart over and over and over is that I cannot manage my life, I cannot control or change my children, and I cannot work hard enough to produce men of valor. I am weak. I have no authority to change the hearts of my children.
But he doesn’t stop there, just driving nails in my coffin. He continues: I hold all power and I will be strong in your weakness. You must come to me every single day, acknowledge your weakness, ask for my power to parent, and let me produce incredible results far beyond your imagination in the hearts of your children.
This is so what I want: to know deep in my soul that a good mother is not one who bakes intricate treats, who schools a certain way, who manages her household within an inch of its life, or who has her children in a million wonderful activities. A good mother is one that acknowledges her need for the power of God to train and teach and change the hearts of her children.
The most important thing I can do for my children each day is to trust God and acknowledge my weakness, not rely on myself. He will take my meager offering and turn it into a miracle.