Awhile back, I spent the weekend with a few other moms. I was inspired, encouraged, and reminded that there is an army of amazing moms out there raising the next civilization. These moms are intentional, thoughtful, gracious women who care about their families, who love God and are making a huge impact in our culture. They want to raise healthy kids who are wise and kind, who will make good choices and lead fruitful lives.
Of course I’m aware that this is a big, eternal responsibility– raising children. I want to do it well; I want to be intentional and I want our kids to thrive, to love Jesus, to make kingdom impacts wherever they go. But sometimes I start worrying about doing it all correctly so that they’ll turn out right in the end, like a long division problem. I soon start treating them like that– a problem to solve and fix.
My friend told me recently, “There are no secrets in families.” I was telling her how I struggle to know how to introduce my children to Jesus, because I have an aversion to the Sunday school cartoon that’s been watered down to a kind historical figure. My friend was reassuring me that even if I don’t say all the words right, what I truly believe is going to be revealed to my children, if you can call that reassuring.
To be honest, this realization made me lay down the parenting books and get counseling– for myself. I want to know that what I believe is pure and true and righteous, because that’s what is going to be exposed to my children, if it hasn’t already. I can say that I believe God is good, but if I complain about His gifts or His ways, do I actually believe He is good? Opening my heart very, very honestly to a few friends has helped me discover the differences between what I say I believe and what I actually believe.
What if, instead of worrying about how to teach my children that God loves us, I live loved? What if they believe it because my life has taught them that, on boring days and through dark valleys and on shining mountaintops? At the end of the day, they will reject or embrace what they have been shown. But at least I want to know that what they have been shown is pure and true and righteous.
I’m so grateful for encouragement from other moms, for parenting books and mommy blogs and inspiring examples. I love teaching my children, a little every day. However, my faith doesn’t hang on my ability to communicate everything perfectly, to set the best rules, to always make the wisest decisions, to follow new, wonderful ideas. That would be a lot of pressure on me; pressure that would make me overwhelmed and frustrated.
Every day, I learn more about God as my Father and me, His daughter. I’m in the middle of being a kid myself– I know how it feels to be corrected and forgiven and loved without limits. I want my kids to go to sleep believing the same thing I believe when my head hits the pillow: I was loved and delighted in today, and I’m confident tomorrow will be the same.