No really. I am a horrible, sinful, depraved mother.
You're feeling the need to stop reading right now and jump right to the comment section with affirming words that I am indeed a wonderful mom, aren't you ? Don't.
The truth is, we all are bad mom's (or dad's). We are sinners. By nature we are bad. The good news ???? The Cross. Jesus's death on the Cross. The Gospel. And I am led to His blood stained feet in my best moments as a mom, and in my worst. His love and sacrifice has covered a multitude of parenting mistakes and mishaps. And when I'm feeling at my worst as a mom and plugging the future counseling fund for my children .... it's in those moments that He takes me as I am and tries to remind me that He has paid it all. It is CRUCIAL that in our failures as parents, we are driven to the Cross.
I was reading yet another article in Christianity Today. (I know, that magazine is prompting a lot of my blog posts lately, huh ? We had one of those door-to-door salespeople come by selling magazine subscriptions. Said if she sold enough, it would make a better life for her and her child. Whatever. I bought her story, and I felt sorry for her ... and that was the only magazine I figured would get read around here.) It was an article on the myth of the perfect parent. (I'd link to it, but for some reason, I can't find it. It's a good read if you do happen to find it.) In the article, it was stated that more recent studies are showing that how children turn out as adults is an issue of DNA, not of parenting. I got kinda excited when I read that. Because if that's true, I've got a 50/50 chance of having stellar kids. Aaron was a great kid, turned out great. I was a not great kid, turned out okay. So that means, by this study, that half my kids will be like Aaron, and half like me. But then, one of my four doesn't hold our DNA. Shoot.
Of course, CT was (thankfully) refuting that study. The article talked about how Christian parents try to raise their children with an end result being a well-rounded, Christ-following, gifted, talented, useful adult. Well, yeah, who wouldn't want that ? It then went on to talk about the problems we face in parenting with such results as our goal. It sent my mind spinning !!!
Parenting is one of those areas that it is so easy to attach a result to our current behavior. I felt very convicted on this reality as I read that article. Of course I want my kids to turn out well. I want them to avoid many of life's challenges that I had to face to draw me to Jesus. I want them to not have to "return to it" (I hope you know what I mean by that) when they are old, because I want them to never depart from it. I want all those attributes listed above, just like every other parent. But what a burden we place on ourselves thinking it is up to us, as parents, to make that happen. Yet we do. I do. The truth is, my kids are sinners just like I am.
I've been working through one of the best parenting books I've ever read. It's called Parenting By The Book, by John Rosemond. In it he speaks toward how God, in his perfection as a Father, does not have perfect children (us) ... so why should we expect any different ? That's an incredibly freeing thought to me. It's so easy to get wrapped up in guilt, thinking we are ruining our children's lives. But that is just not true.
Where am I going with this ? Here it is. It's no wonder that so many people in my generation feel this guilt that they are ruining their kids lives. They blame their parents for their own lives. I see it all over the place - adult children blaming their parents mistakes for how there lives have turned out. (I'll even admit that I've tried to pull that off myself many a time.) It's no wonder that now as parents, we feel we are going to screw up our kids. We believe our parents screwed us up, and gosh darn-it ... we're gonna do better. A dear friend of mine once said to me that every generation says they are going to do it better than their parents. If that were true, we'd be perfect by now. So true. However, the truth is, I will not stand before the Throne and be judged on how my kids turned out. My children will stand for that on their own. They will all come to an age of accountability where I will not be held responsible for their sins .... they will. And their sins, while they may try to say were my fault - are still their sins.
I know, I have some explaining to do. There are a myriad of parenting issues that will be included in my accountability checklist on that judgment day. Did I provoke my child to anger? (Eph. 6:4) Did I train my child in the way they were to go ? (Prov. 22:6) Did I impress the commandments of the Lord upon my children? (Deut. 6:5-9) Did I serve my children (as in following Jesus example)? Did I love my children? Did I show them the love of Jesus? When I am a "stumbling block" in my child's life (which I KNOW I have been and will often be), was I humble enough to recognize and repent to both them and Christ? (Of this I pray to be true.) There are many other things that I will be held responsible for.
HOW MY CHILDREN TURN OUT IS NOT ONE OF THEM.
Aaron and I have already been prideful enough in our parenting to evaluate what other parents (mostly of grown children) have done. (Not in a sense of trying to learn, but more of a mockery of .... why didn't they get it right, mwhahahaha ???) What worked, what didn't. Why did this super-spiritual parent end up with such a rotten child? How wrong of us. Of course there are lessons to be learned from other parents. Of course wisdom says we should do some things and not others to guide our children toward what we desire to be their life. Of course I will continue to read books to tell me how to do it all better. But I believe it is yet another tactic of the Enemy for me to get so wrapped up in what I want my children to become, that I take my eyes off of what I am to be. What I am is what I will be responsible for.
I will continue to pray for the desired outcome I think is best for my children. Yet in my prayers, it is crucial that I remember God's providence (hehe) in their lives. I pray that in their adult versions of themselves, they can stand before the Throne as a Child of God not because I was a great Mom, but because the cross was enough for them too.