life in general, parent life

A Tough Reality in Parenting

I’m a crier. I always cry. Happy? Tears. Sad? Tears. Frustrated? Ugly Tears.

So, it was no surprise that I was standing in our tiny 1960 orange and brown bathroom crying. Was I crying because we haven’t yet updated our bathroom and it’s ugly? Ha, no. I was crying because my husband was upset about our older two girls and their current lack of respect, and truth be told their cleanliness. Can they do chores to save their life? Nope. And if they do attempt their daily chores, they’re only half done. Can they pick up after themselves, or keep any area tidy? No. But why is that making me cry? Is my husband yelling at me, or getting on to me? Is he blaming me for their lack? No, he’s not. So why then do I feel responsible for their mess?? For their laziness? Am I not training them up correctly? Am I not getting onto them or nagging them enough? Am I not gently leading them in how to take care of a home?

Big, deep breath because this truth might shock you.

What our kids are doing or not doing is not a reflection of me, or of you, Mama.  Our kids have daily choices just as you and I do. They have a choice to wake up with a happy heart, to get their chores done, and work hard.  Or they can make the choice to wake up, fight with their siblings, and flake out on everything their suppose to do. Does it mean we haven’t tried? No. Does it mean we’re doing a poor job of parenting and raising them? No, it doesn’t.  As long as we’re trying… as long as we’re leading by example, as long as we’re focusing on Him and what He has for our lives, then we’re doing our part. God does not force our compliance. He gives us a choice. We can obey, which I believe turns into blessings, or we can give into our free will, and do things our way. Our kids have the same choices. And I don’t know about yours but ours seem to like learning the hard way.
When we read about the prodigal son in the bible (Luke 15:11-32) do we think to ourselves, “I wonder why his parents didn’t try harder? Why didn’t his father stop him? What did his parents do (or not do) that would make him behave like that and make such poor choices?” We don’t think about those things. We don’t start blaming the father for giving the son his inheritance. We watch with sadness as the child makes a poor, rebellious choice. We see the father be patient with his son, to welcome him home with arms open wide, a feast thrown for the prodigal son’s return. It’s such a picture of how our Father in heaven sees us all.

No matter how cute our babies are they will eventually show their sinful natures because as harsh as it sounds, we’re all sinful and a little selfish. It’s the fallen world we live in. But hold on, Mama, to the grace and love that our Father showers upon us, and be an example of that to your children, no matter the choices their making.

As a mama whose job it is to train up our children, we cannot hold on to the lie of the enemy that their behavior is a reflection of us. We should make the choice to follow The Father, to guide our children in the ways of the Lord. We should strive every day to show grace, love, and forgiveness just as the Father does for us. We should listen to the Holy Spirit in all situations. As we’re doing those things we need to pray for our children and watch in awe as God works in their hearts and molds them into the adults He’s created them to be.

My prayers to you, Mama, who is facing the never-ending battle of motherhood. Our time, our energy, our words are never without purpose. They’re never wasted… Keep fighting, keep pushing for goodness, keep showing grace, love, forgiveness, goodness, faithfulness, and you’ll see the fruits of your labor shine through your children… maybe not today, but one day.

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose]. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Amp

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