My husband and I try to be intentional in our parenting. It doesn’t always happen–we certainly find ourselves in survival mode a lot. Particularly when life is busy, kids are sick, or kids are just plain trying. But we always try to come back around and re-evaluate what is important for us to teach to our children and how we should go about doing that.
Today I was reading a part of the Beth Moore “Esther” study. Moore acknowledged that she was going off on a bit of a tangent, but prayed that it would serve a purpose. I was so grateful for her tangent! She spoke of something that both Dave and I encountered as we left behind our childhoods and entered adulthood. We both grew up in smaller communities and we were both pretty good students. We received a lot of praise and encouragement because of it. After high school, we each found ourselves at liberal arts colleges, surrounded by hundreds of other small-town kids who had been praised and encouraged for their talents and smarts. All of a sudden we found ourselves pretty mediocre, at best. It was a transition that we both clearly remember, but fortunately we both adjusted well and haven’t struggled through adulthood thinking that we should be accomplishing incredible things or that we are failures because we aren’t nuclear physicists or anything. I guess there is some book called, “My So-Called Genius” that a woman wrote about this exact thing in her own life–I have to read it!
Anyway, Beth Moore reminded parents to encourage their children in things that matter in an eternal perspective, not just in things that bring earthly success. She instructed us to read some words of encouragement that Paul gave to Timothy in 1 Timothy. My paraphrase is exactly what I want to instruct my children in: “Set an example in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. Do not neglect your gift. Be diligent. Work hard.”
I love encouraging my children. I love being delighted and surprised and proud when they accomplish new things or figure something out on their own. I think this is a wonderful thing, but over the last few days, my pastor’s words from a sermon he gave over a year ago have been swimming in my head: “Your children are not for your glory. They are for God’s glory.”
How hard it is for us to see our children fail at something. How humiliating when our children embarrass us in front of others with bad behavior or words. How frustrating when we instruct and discipline and work so hard and yet find ourselves coming up short. Remembering that my children are not in my life or on this earth for my glory brings a certain humility and freedom to my mother’s heart. When I remember that I parent, teach, and discipline in order to direct my children’s hearts to God, I also remember that I cannot give up.
I was kept awake last night for over two hours with worries and concerns, so I spent that time in prayer. One of my desperate prayers last night was that I would be diligent in Godly parenting. I loved that God gave me fresh instruction this morning in a random tangent in a Bible Study. As a mom, I hope that I can set an example for my children “in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” That I do not neglect the gift of motherhood that has been given to me and that I stay diligent!