"Rise during the night and cry out.
Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him in prayer,
pleading for your children..." Lamentations 2:19 (NLT)
I have three of the greatest teachers in the world and they live right in my own house. Their names are Chase, Jordyn, and Jenna and all of them are under the age of twelve years old. My husband, Rob, made an astute observation during the first several years of our adventure as parents. He came to believe, and I wholeheartedly agree, that our children were given to us to teach us, even though we had been placed over them in a position of authority.
But does anyone else besides me ever have a day (or a week, month, or months) when you just wonder what exactly it is that you are teaching them? Nothing can make me more insecure or fretful than to think that I am missing the mark when it comes to being a mother. I am a perfectionist by nature. Rob and my own mother assure me that I am far too hard on myself when I judge how I am doing as a mom. This is the area that I have such a difficult time surrendering to the Lord. I will lay my mothering on the altar before Him, but snatch it back before I know it.
Has anyone else cried in fear over her mistakes in this area? I have cried a river. In fact, the Lord has shown me that my mothering has become an idol to me. There is only one Savior for my children and, girlfriends, I am not that savior! I am slowly, so very, very slowly, starting to understand that I cannot escape wounding my children in some way. That thought used to threaten to drive me crazy. But God has begun, by teeny tiny increments, to make me see that He is capable of using those flaws I have as an imperfect mommy to drive my children to the One perfect being who can heal them--Himself.
There is a law of harvest in Scripture. There are some passages in the Bible that strike me so forcefully in their power and comfort that I am sure that they were written just for me. The wonderful thing about my belonging to my heavenly Father is that I can claim them as mine, even if they were written thousands of years before I took my first breath. This is one that I have claimed as mine over my mothering:
5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with shouts of joy.
6 Though one goes along weeping,
carrying the bag of seed,
[s]he will surely come back with shouts of joy,
carrying h[er] sheaves.
Psalm 126:5-6 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Girlfriends, are we seeking the face of our God as we try to raise our children in the fear of the Lord? Our heavenly Father looks at the heart of each mommy that falls on her face before Him to ask for wisdom to mother her children. He sees our tears and has promised on the authority of His living, breathing, eternal Word that our tears will not come back to us without a beautiful harvest. He does not judge us in the same way as we may even judge ourselves. If we are sowing the fields of our childrens' hearts with our tears and His Word, we will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying evidence of the incredible harvest in our hands! That is His promise to us in the above verses.
Our God is a God of generations. Our faithfulness to His Word today in the lives of our children will produce joy later as they become adults. I have to trust Jesus to be what I lack for my children. I have to trust Him for their future. I have to trust Him for the choices that they will make. And I have to trust that He will be more than enough to them as He has been to me.
The choice to live for Jesus in front of our children, to pour out our hearts like water over them in the quietness of our private prayer with Him, will make a difference for eternity. Jonathan Edwards was a preacher and theologian that lived in the mid eighteenth century. He read his famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in a monotone voice. Yet, God used his lack of charisma to help usher in the revival that occurred during the Great Awakening in this country. I heard the following report on Jonathan Edwards' descendants a while ago. Read it and be encouraged, fellow mommy friend of mine!
"Max Jukes, the atheist, lived a godless life. He married an ungodly girl, and from the union there were 310 who died as paupers, 150 were criminals, 7 were murderers, 100 were drunkards, and more than half of the women were prostitutes. His 540 descendants cost the State one and a quarter million dollars.
"But, praise the Lord, it works both ways! There is a record of a great American man of God, Jonathan Edwards. He lived at the same time as Max Jukes, but he married a godly girl. An investigation was made of 1,394 known descendants of Jonathan Edwards of which 13 became college presidents, 65 college professors, 3 United States senators, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 preachers and missionaries, 60 authors of prominence, one a vice-president of the United States, 80 became public officials in other capacities, 295 college graduates, among whom were governors of states and ministers to foreign countries. His descendants did not cost the state a single penny. 'The memory of the just is blessed' (Prov. 10:7)."
This article by Leonard Ravenhill appeared in DAYSPRING copyright (c) 1963 by Bethany House Publishers, a ministry of Bethany Fellowship, Inc. All rights reserved.
Our tears and these days of exhaustion--physical or emotional--are safe with our God when it comes to our children. He gives His grace and mercy every morning. We are privileged to touch the eternal and potentially impact thousands of our descendants when we mother with the perspective that nothing we are doing today, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, goes unnoticed by Him.
Jesus, help me to be humble and teachable in my mothering. Help me to apologize often and willingly to my children when I know that I have blown it in front of them. Help me to understand Your grace is sufficient in my weaknesses. Lord, You know how many I have! But You decided before the creation of the world that I was the exact woman who would be ordained to raise my children to know You. Help me to forgive myself and let go of the guilt that I so often struggle with in this area. And please do the same for my precious sisters who are reading this. Give us hope and help us to trust You with the outcome of our efforts in the lives of our children. You are faithful!