Yesterday my 10-year-old had a play date. I have known the mom from school for a while, but we had never been to her home. Walking up to the house, I noticed the lovely flowers, the well-swept porch, welcoming chalkboard next to the door. Inside, the home was peaceful and inviting. Her voice is gentle, never rushing, and the way she spoke about her family, and her faith, reminded me of how I had always pictured myself to be.
Who, I am not.
The past several years have brought many more opportunities for busyness, and fewer days to clean, neaten, organize. The pile on my kitchen counter, ironically, appeared after I finally made these cute little file boxes, and, while it’s not filthy, the house is rarely as tidy as in previous years. Never as neat as I think it should be.
My communication also lacks polish. If I am talking, the hands are usually moving. My vocal tone vacillates between a tired, tense drawl, and an excited, slightly too loud flurry of thoughts. Often, I am late, or feeling rushed, and the gentle mama in my head struggles to find her way out to greet my precious family.
Oh my, and then there is the spiritual stuff… There is no family bible study. My attempts to have the kids read books on spiritual growth have fallen flat. We don’t pray every night before bed… Any memorization of scripture comes from church or school.
I, ladies and gentleman, am no poster child for the faith.
Upon reflection last night, however, I realized something rather significant. God, does not need me to be perfect. And, He doesn’t need our family to look like someone else’s. I am the mom God perfectly designed to raise MY kids – no one else. In my frantic moods, battle against depression, struggling relationships and personal crises, my kids are finding their own way to faith.
In spite of me.
My eldest is a worship leader at our church. He is amazing and his journey to adulthood has been a joy to watch. Challenges and failures have been met with self-regulation, personal growth, and a deepening of his dependency on God.
My 2nd is THE most loving and gentle human you will ever meet. She has a servant’s heart and loves her friends for who they are, even when their bad choices make it a challenge for her to hang out with them. Her boundaries are set regardless of any potential peer pressure.
Just the other day, I was feeling the stress of the morning, and my 10-year-old came over, gently touched my arm, and began to pray over me. She serves at church joyfully every single weekend, and her first response to everything is prayer and a positioning of faith.
Even my youngest boy (aged 6), will patiently remind me if we haven’t prayed yet as we pull out of the driveway, and sings worship songs regardless of whether he is playing Legos or taking a bath. He corrects his siblings when they get bible stories wrong and talks about how he is a godly warrior.
The bible tells us parents to raise our children up in the way they should go. It also says that we will reap what we have sown. Parenting experts will tell you that children will emulate what they see, not so much what you try to “teach” them.
My kids see me pray. They see me cry. When I fail them, I ask for forgiveness. My bible is worn. Church is a priority, even when I am clearly sick or exhausted. They hear the phone calls when I minister to others, and go with me when we deliver a meal. See me doing MY bible study instead of making them do theirs…
God made me, me. I am not anyone else, nor can I be. And that, is all that He wants and needs me to do – walk out my own path. Some mama’s are scholars. Others, great teachers. Some sew and cook and serve others. There are writers, speakers, ministers, mentors, worshipers, leaders and followers. But who I am is all my own kids need me to be. God WILL bless the works of my hands, and my kids WILL grow in His way when I am faithful.
Whoever I am…