13 September 2011
As a mom, I am constantly confronted with attitudes, behaviors, and speech that are not Godly (and no, I am not talking about my own this time – though I could . . . for a long time). Usually, I find these attitudes, behaviors, and speech to be annoying. This annoyance could indicate one of two things in me and one of two things in my children: my unGodliness , through my lack of patience; or just my misunderstanding; and my child’s unGodliness or just plain childishness).
God has assigned to me the responsibility of training my child in righteousness. So, when I come across these behaviors or attitudes, it is my job to discern the situation, correct the child if needed, and guide us all back on course. As with any correction, whether it be correcting a car, a spaceship, or a line; small corrections lead to large results. If I make a minute correction of the steering wheel, then it leads the car on a new path. In order to drive straight down the highway, I am constantly making small adjustments to the steering wheel. Making a major adjustment would send me off the road or out of control. When guiding my child, can I look at the situation the same manner?
An attitude is displayed, or a behavior is exhibited, then I go into crazy mom mode and punish, correct, lecture, worry, and/or stress over my child’s attitude or behavior. I fret, wondering if I have done the right thing, questioning how this child got this way, pondering what I should continue to do or what I should redo or change. This would be like that major correction of the steering wheel I mentioned – if I remain on this course I could be driving my child away from the Lord, or we are just plain out of control (which would also be away from the Lord). Instead, I should look at the situation and ask God to help me determine what small correction is needed.
Christ doesn’t try to teach me every truth from Scripture all at once. If he yanked the wheel every time I messed up, I would feel overwhelmed and certain that there would be no reason to try because I’d be unsuccessful anyway. He understands my immaturity and takes me, one little correction at a time, in the right direction.
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”
Ex. 34 6-7
This would be the reason I have been a Christian for almost twenty years and some days behave the same way I would have twenty years ago. Now, don’t get me wrong, overall I feel that I have gained Christlikeness and matured in many areas. I now at least realize I am not a slave to sin; however, by no means am I just like Christ.
My children on the other hand have been expected to produce every fruit God mentions. It’s almost as if I expect that because I’m teaching them young, because they are being brought up from birth bathed in the Word of God, they will just naturally walk in the ways of God. Not true. God says that we are all under the curse of Adam (Eph. 5:1). Believe it or not, even that sweet baby who looks so innocent has a heart that is bent towards wrong; he just hasn’t had the opportunity to act on it. God says we are all born with a sinful human nature.
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Ps. 51
I know my sinful unrealistic expectations of my children are doing them harm, but how do I stop? How do I stop expecting them to live perfect Christian lives, to be naturally bent towards God – when I know the truth is that none of us are.
(Indulge me a moment) I need to make a "u-turn" on the road of parenting. I need to begin to look at these behaviors as normal human nature. And when the occasions arise, as they will every day, many times, I need to trust God to guide me in making small corrections. One attitude today isn’t going to predict my child’s adulthood. Now, left on that path, it certainly may. (Of course then we could get into trusting the Lord to detour the child, or place another car in the way – agghhh – this could go on forever). But, what I think the Lord is teaching me today is to relax – not catastrophize every behavior, word, or attitude my child has. He is human, after all; he got it from me and great grandfather Adam. :)
“Help me Lord, today – to accept my children for who they are, the natural born sinners. Help me to guide them gently on your path, not “drive” them crazy as an attempt to direct their course. Give me the patience, the wisdom, and the knowledge through your Holy Spirit on this moment-by-moment parenting adventure. And above all, help me to love them unconditionally, as you have loved me and given yourself for me.”
the still immature writer