i came across these words today: “It is our responsibility to obey the Lord – to sow the seed and to water – it is His job to make the seed grow (1 Cor 3:6)” — and i thought about parenting my boys.
i have a tendency to feel like i can and should control their behavior and “get them” to obey, so when they aren’t, i feel out-of-control and like a failure. i have been ruminating on the thought for a while that i need to be a little more “hands off” in my parenting — to sow the seeds and trust God for the growth.
my psyche chimes right in: “hands off??!! are you crazy? its your job to be hands ON!”
yes. but it is not my job to control, which is what i’ve been trying to do. in my love for my boys, however misguided by fear and pride, i have not wanted to share them with other people, i have wanted to be the only one who had any say over the things they did, and i have often felt sad or depressed by the thought that they would someday leave, or that they would have an amazing experience or conversation and i would not be there, or that perhaps someday, they would have a mentor or friend in whose words they put more stock in than in mine. these are not the overwhelming thoughts surrounding our days, but in moments of weakness and trial, these deep fears find their way to the surface and totally confuse me. writing them out, i can see these are not godly desires. but when i feel them, they are so strong that i honestly cannot tell whether or not they are good. (this is reason #1075 why we need fellowship, community, and counsel!)
in the article in which i found the quote, the man also touches on family and children becoming an idol in one’s life. i do believe the feelings i described above are indicative of that, which is why i think God has been tugging on my heart to repent of that and let Him do His job. practically, i can not rush over when i see jones and another boy scuttling on the playground, ready to reprimand jones for bad behavior, but see how they will work it out and see if i need to step in. i don’t need to cut every snippet of naughtiness off at the cuff, for fear that it will grow into more rampant rebellion when the boy is older — he has sin in his heart, and so do i, and i need to let him see that so he knows how he needs Jesus.
praying God will change my heart, help me give up my idol of a good family and good kids, and give myself and my boys grace. it will help me to chill out. it will make outings and such more relaxing if i’m not worried about making my three-year-old behave perfectly, but instead instruct him and allow him to make choices. it will also greatly enhance my relationship with my boys, if i quit regarding their sin as a personal offense to me. i have my ideas that it will enhance my marriage, too, if i’m not freaking out about mothering all the time.
Lord, make me a gracious and merciful mother, able to hold the behavior of my children with an open hand. help me to allow You to mold their hearts and remember that You will do it in Your timing, giving me freedom to enjoy.