Maybe you’re a mom like me. A mom with littles round knees and ankles, just trying to stay afloat. Everyday the struggle is real. The struggle between loving your kids so much it literally hurts and the millions of ways they hurt your heart and you hurt theirs.
How? You wonder. How in the midst of housework and chores, a fulltime job and supper plans? In frustrations, and messes, and tempers lost? In siblings arguing, teenagers rebelling, marriage and finances straining, straining can you do what you need to do persistently enough, consistently enough, to make these precious ones turn out good and righteous and holy enough?
How can you teach them to love the Lord when you’re so unbelievably flawed? When you get it wrong more than you get it right?
Maybe you homeschool. Maybe you teach. Maybe you’re a grandparent, aunt, uncle, babysitter, daycare worker, youth pastor, foster parent, neighbor, or friend.
No matter who you are or what you do chances are good you have a child or children in your life that you love to pieces, that mean(s) the world to you. And if you have a child to love, and if you yourself love the Lord, chances are also good that all you really, really want in life, at the end of the day is to know that child loves the Lord too. I mean really loves the Lord, in a lifelong relationship kind of way.
And if you’re like me, it probably feels like you never do enough, like you are never enough. That you never seem to say the right things or do the right things to make this deepest desire of your heart come true. Many days (most days) are spent just wondering what those right things are. Just praying that all these mistakes you’ve made will somehow not matter, not mess everything up. Just praying that someday you’ll get your act together enough to mold those little hearts into what they need to be.
It’s exhausting isn’t it? But guess what?
It isn’t true. It isn’t real. This is not what’s needed.
This worry. This doubt. This striving to rescue and save your children, it’s not who you’re designed to be, it’s not what you’re designed to do.
Last Sunday morning in the middle of weekend chores, in the middle of hammers and sawdust, and working side by side with her dad, Aletheia asked Chris if he’d help her pray to accept Jesus as her Savior.
For several weeks now, she’s been asking questions. Deep questions. Important questions. Questions about sin, and Jesus, and the state of her heart. We’ve taken the time to talk with her. We’ve prayed and prayed and prayed.
And then one morning, everything changes. Forever changes.
Something in my girl took root. It’s given her wings, and light, and life everlasting! As her mom, it’s a shiningly beautiful thing to see…
But it’s not because of me. It’s not because of things I’ve done right or things I’ve done wrong. It’s not because of VBS or stories or songs, homeschool, Sunday school or countless words spoken, countless prayers prayed.
It’s because of Jesus and His Holy Spirit working in my daughter’s heart to rescue her unto Him, to redeem her heart and make it new.
That’s it. And while He uses all these good and wonderful things in good and wonderful ways, the state of her heart depends on His work and His work only.
This is what’s up to me, to remember that my little ones matter to Him. To remember He loves them deeper and better and more completely than I ever could.
What is needed at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the day is nothing more than a constant offering of grace. Of giving them Jesus and His good news like I give them food. Like I give them clothes and shoes and a house to live in. Even more. Because this is what feeds, and sustains, and nourishes all that lasts forever.
What is needed is to tell them, show them, again and again, how good God is, how great is His love.
What is needed is to take my successes and turn their eyes to His glory, His grace. To take my failures and turn their eyes to His work, His cross.
Both of us growing, both of us existing on who He is and what He’s done. Because I need this. Oh, how I need it? Again and again, as much as they do.
When this is my focus everything becomes an opportunity to fill up on God. And when we fill our minds and hearts on God, everything fills. Our house fills, our days fill. Church, school, and life fills. And, no, nothing is ever perfect and nothing ever will be, but again this goodness rings true:
When we’re exhausted, He can’t be.
When we run on empty, He overflows.
When we’re inefficient, He is sufficient.
And He always and only gives love, gives grace.
And this offering grace, this giving them Jesus, is something we can all do. At home, at school, at church. When we laugh, when we cry, when we pray. When we sing, and dance, and fight, and learn. When we fail and when we fly.
Again and again we can do this.
We can feed them Jesus. We can feast on grace.
And find everything that ever mattered, is everlastingly full.
~For more please check out Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson which greatly inspired this post.