And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I am not the perfect mother. Far from it actually. I was telling a friend recently that every night I fall into bed to the sound of crying girls (they don’t all go down easily) and think, “I’ve failed another day.” As depressing as that may sound to many of you, it is not so to me. Crazy, I know. Perhaps by the end of this post, you will understand why.
A lot of people write books about parenting. It is a huge responsibility. Some people parent really well and relate their experiences to be helpful to the rest of us. I believe, as with all reading, it needs to be put through the strainer of scripture. Much of it may be helpful, but not all of it is Bible. Not only that, but parenting books don’t usually deal with the fact that every child is different. Just like adults. And snowflakes. But no one wants to talk about winter in the fall… at least I don’t.
The point is that our guide book needs to be the Bible. And to be honest, God’s Word doesn’t go into specific detail for dealing with children as individuals. That’s okay! I believe that God didn’t spell everything out for several good reasons that I cling to every day. The first being this – God meant for me to raise each of my children. They are a gift from Him that He specifically meant for me to have. Did I mention that He is deliberate in where He places children?* That truth in itself equips me for whatever my kids come up with.
The second truth that I have recently learned is this – God’s grace is going to make my children what they will become and it is more than sufficient to make up for my failures. I am not perfect, like I said. My Heavenly Father knows this. He knows me better than anyone. And He will make up for what I lack. That said, this does not give me license to be a back-seat parent. Not at all! As a Christian mom, I want to do everything for God’s glory, to the best of my ability that He gives me. But I need to be dependent on His grace.
We’ve all seen it. The parents who do everything right – they have that balance of friend and parent down. Disciplinarian and cheerleader. A great example of Christ-likeness. Yet their child(ren) turn out to reject the Savior they love and the teachings they live by. It is not for lack of trying. It is not necessarily the parents’ fault – it is the child’s fault, their sin nature at work. We can really work ourselves into a lot of guilt when we depend completely on our own formula to raise children. In a sin-filled world and an imperfect body, we need God’s grace in every situation, to cover what we do.
I will be very alarmed if I get to the point where I think I have it all together. At that point I will know that I am no longer depending on God to see me through. Remember, it is in our weaknesses that God shows Himself strong. I really am with Paul on this one when he tells us to “glory in our infirmities”.
So as I flop into bed tonight to the sound of crying children, I will sleep soundly knowing this – that I have failed today, but God’s grace more than makes up for where I fall short. It did in my salvation, and it will in my parenting too.
*I don’t believe that God wants children in bad situations. That is where man’s sinful nature comes in and I am all in favor of taking a child out of a neglectful or abusive home. I cannot explain how His will intertwines in these scenarios, because He’s omniscient, and I am not.