“Keep going. They’ll eventually get it.”
This was a pep talk from my wiser than her years 15 year old. I am that person who needs affirmation from their own progeny.
We both knew how rough the morning had been. No one could find what they needed for a successful day – despite my rule about having your things together the night before. Attitudes were not stellar. Mouths were moving and excuses were flowing, but ears were closed and sense was halted.
It was a frustrating morning to say the least. I’d be lying if I said it was the first one.
And I sat there doubting in my minivan. “They will never get it!” I told myself.
Something no one tells you when you start your maternal journey is that children don’t typically learn something the first time. Repetition is key to successful parenting. And it may drive you slowly insane.
“Did you brush your teeth?” “Don’t forget to put your homework in your bag.” “Did you remember you have practice tonight?” “Mommy said you can’t wear that to school.”
The reason gray hairs come fast and furious is because you must often be the brain for however many children you have. It’s exhausting.
Parenting is a plodding work. Results are not usually instantaneous. It can take a lifetime to see results. And you most likely cannot take credit for the end product. (I can honestly say it is ALL of Jesus!)
Before you go swearing off children altogether, let me say this: the raising of children is the most important work on planet earth. The time, energy and money you spend is an investment in the future. It is of primary importance.
But in the mire of everyday life, motherhood doesn’t seem so life altering.
I arrived home from dropping my sage off at school so she could procure more inspirational quotes. I plopped down and opened my Bible to the prophets. And as I read I realized something.
I am just like my kids. They are just like me.
God gets my frustration.
How many times does humanity have to be reminded of the same things over and over by our holy God?
The Lord chose Israel, not because of their own merit, but because He could show His power through them. He gave them a code to live by. He repeated it several hundred times. Even the kings of Judah would write out the Torah to have their own copy handy.
But they broke the covenant. “All you have commanded we will obey,” they vowed to Jehovah. It didn’t take long to go back on their word.
Time and again God would forgive His wayward, forgetful children. He was firm, but patient. True to His Word though, this rampant careless disobedience would have to be punished so they would forget no more.
There is an interesting and much debated response that God has for His wayward children throughout Scripture. He repents them. Literally, He sighs over them. How often have you seen kids making obviously bad choices and just… sighed?
I do it. I sorta get what God was doing in those instances. It isn’t regret for creating, but a holy frustration with continual error.
The interesting thing is, this repenting (or the ESV word, relenting) also gives the idea to let up on or turn. The notion is that despite our sin and stupidity God shows mercy. He does not give us the punishment we truly deserve. Ever.
Millennia later, not much has changed. I sit here forgetting often as the cares of life and my own sin blur God’s presence and practices in my mind. Oh, He is still there. My perception prevents me from noticing.
And just like my kids who think mom will never find out, I play the same game with God. The difference is, He sees not only my actions, but the thoughts behind them as well.
At this point, if I am at all serious about my relationship with God, I must run to His Word to see the reality of my life. To be reminded of what I have forgotten.
In the Bible, through the Holy Spirit’s enabling, I find the means to adjust my perspective because I am reminded of what is true about myself, my children and my God.
He knows we will forget. He has provided the Holy Spirit and Scripture to remind us. And what’s crazy is that He never goes crazy in reminding His wayward, careless children of His ways. But He may sigh.
Still, God sees something in us that seems unattainable- we will eventually get it. We will someday no longer need the reminders and drilling because it will all be written on our hearts and ever before us.
Until then, press onward and upward. Live in the knowledge that God understands the frustrations of reminders. He does the same for us.