I will never forget the day I held my firstborn child in my arms. Joy, laughter, excitement… fear, anxiety, the unknown. These emotions (and more) were just swirling around in my mind as I started the chapter of motherhood that would last the rest of my life. There are so many things I’ve done wrong as a mom, and a lot of things I’ve done right. It’s not easy raising little independent people, wanting so desperately for them to make all the right decisions, behave all the right ways, and avoid all the pitfalls that life wants to throw at them. Then they become teenagers! I have three teens in my home right now and every single day is an adventure. A wonderful, exciting, joy filled adventure. An exhausting, mind numbing, hair pulling out adventure. Can it be both?
Well, as I am wading through these years of guiding these young lives into adulthood, I face the natural fears that come with parenting. I wonder if I am really being the mom they need? I know I’m too hard on myself sometimes. There’s a thousand blogs and even more books that tell us moms to take it easy on ourselves, but what about the things that really are legit? I’m not perfect. There are so many things that I wish I had done better when they were younger. There are so many things I wish I was doing differently right now. Some I can change, some are outside of my control. And so, I reflect on a few areas that I hope and pray are getting through to my kids despite my inadequacies. This list is brief, not at all complete, but these are the things that are on my mind today.
Five Things I Hope my Children are Learning from Me
1 . To be in the word of God. Life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs, victories and defeats. Temptations come in so many shapes and sizes. Trials are lurking just around the bend. How do we navigate? How do we know how to live? Only by reading, studying, applying, and living the Word of God do we find the answers to these questions. God speaks to His children exclusively through God’s Word. He can use people, he can use anything to speak to us, but ONLY when it lines up with God’s Word can we truly say God spoke to us. If what we are listening to contradicts God’s Word one bit, then it was NOT God speaking. I want my children to know God’s Word. I want them to experience God as they learn about Him in His Word. I want them to see firsthand that the Bible is living and breathing in their life. I hope that I’ve taught them that enough in both my word and example that it stays with them forever. Without it, they will suffer so much unnecessary heartache.
2 . How to Pray. Watching my children go from their “Dear Jesus” prayers as little children, to heartfelt, relational prayer with their Heavenly Father is a great joy to me as a mother. I hope that my children know that prayer is not about the right words, but about the right heart. It’s not about checking off our to-do list, it’s about a lifeline to the God of the universe. I hope they see the power that prayer has had in our family and even in their young lives. As God speaks to us through His Word, we speak to God through our prayers. Relationships fall apart when there is no communication, and I want my children to experience a full, sound relationship with their creator and savior. I hope that when they are in the middle of discouragement, their first reaction is to look up and ask God for help. I hope that when life is going awesome and they feel like they’re on top of the world that their first reaction is to look up and thank God for all He has blessed them with.
3 . To Love Unconditionally. The first commandment, Jesus says, is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. This is one of those areas that I know I should be doing more to instill this truth in their lives. Love others, no matter what. Show that love for others by our actions. Take the time to make sure that girl is ok that you see sitting alone in the cafeteria. Pray for that bully and show kindness to him knowing that there is almost definitely something going on in his life that has caused that behavior. Don’t force your way into the popular crowd, but go sit with the kid that everyone makes fun of. Love. Always. Share Jesus with everyone God allows you to. Love.
4 . The importance of self-respect and self-confidence. I hope my children know how absolutely amazing they are! They each have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. One is not greater or lesser than the other, they are simply different. I hope that when the devil tries to tell them they aren’t good enough that they remember that Jesus valued them enough to die for them. I hope that when they sin, they don’t wallow in guilt but that they remember that God is waiting for them to forgive them and cleanse them from all unrighteousness. I hope that when they feel depressed or discouraged and they don’t know who they really are yet, that they remember Whose they are and that they are fully capable to do anything that God calls them to do.
5 . To work hard. Josh and I have reminded my kids throughout the years that God created work for man before sin entered the world. Work is God ordained. We live in a lazy world filled with people who want to take all they can get but who aren’t willing to put forth the effort it takes to get it. I hope my kids know the value of hard work. I hope they put the effort into their jobs that show what it means to do all things to the glory of God, working for God and not for man. I hope that they don’t remember the nights that I’m curled up in pain at home all night, but that they think about the hard work I did all day that put me there. I hope they see that I get up every morning and face that work all over again, knowing where it puts me at night. I hope they understand that we have high standards on their chores because a good work ethic matters. I hope that one day they will appreciate how much we push them to work harder.