The exchange was a tense one. Kids were screaming. Mama was screaming. There were tears and accusations and defenses. And all before 9 a.m. All before coffee.
We were in a hurry to scoot out the door to school and everything was going sideways. Laundry baskets of clean clothes were turned over. The toddler literally tumbled out the front door onto the steps in the rain.
I hurried the kids off to school with my heart still pounding in my chest from all the chaos, and then I returned home to the aftermath to try to make sense of what went wrong.
I’m a Christian. I love God. I love my children. I know that the three children that God has given me are eternal souls that I am called to shepherd and raise in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. And, yet, when the rubber meets the road I fail so often. If I can’t show the unconditional love of Christ to them, who will?
I don’t want to merely survive parenting. I want to thrive at what I’m called to in the Lord. I believe Lord, help my unbelief.
As I prayed and asked God for wisdom, here are three things that came to mind:
- How did I start my day? Well, truth be told I have a goal of getting up before everyone to read God’s word and center my mind on the truth of Christ. But, it was raining and I was tired and blah, blah, blah. How can I expect my actions to flow from the rich, loving, merciful truth of God’s word when I’m not grounding myself in it?
This may be a bit harsh. I know that time spent in the Word isn’t a magic box we can check in order to coerce God into giving us an easier day. That thought is legalism and it’s not the Gospel. I’m talking about a soul steeped in God’s promises and thoughts that are taken captive to obey Christ. This communion with God leaves us refreshed and overflowing with a gratitude that necessarily spills onto those around us.
This obviously doesn’t have to take place at a certain time of day. If you’re reading your Bible, great! For me, I’ve noticed my day goes better if I start it at the foot of the cross, humbling myself before God’s will.
- I don’t want to be remembered as an angry mom. The first description God gives of himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6 (ESV) is this:
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Friends, if we are indeed Christians — or, quite literally, “little Christs,” — aren’t we called to reflect the image that we bear of God?
Would you describe yourself as merciful? Gracious? Slow to anger? Abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness?
I don’t think any of us hit all these marks, at least not all the time. But, our Father in Heaven promises to give good gifts to those who ask — to those who are seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Maybe it’s when we hit our knees in the morning and ask for the ability to reflect Christ to those around us that we are able to hit our mark.
- Paul pleaded with the Lord three times to remove the thorn in his flesh. And in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV) God responds with a resounding “no” in order that Paul would not become conceited in his ministry.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me., For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Let that sink in. His grace is sufficient for us. He knows that we are weak and He’s using that weakness to bring glory to Himself and to carry out His kingdom work on earth. And, when we boast in that weakness, the power of Christ rests on us. God’s kingdom does its work in our hearts. So, let us be content with that just as Paul was before us. And in that weakness, we ironically become strong.
That’s the God we serve. He takes our bad things and supernaturally works them for good. That’s the kind of God I want to seek after all my days in order that I may become a mom who delights in raising children who will see me imperfectly seeking after Christ and being transformed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18).