We are told that we have been made in the image and likeness of God. Could it be true for our parenting, too? More often than not, I feel like I miss the mark and get it wrong as a parent. But, every once in awhile, I will have a difficult or a special moment with one of my children and I will get it right. In those moments, I have had insights into our Heavenly Father’s love for us.
- If you want to show how much you love me, be kind to your siblings. The other day, my son came up to me and hugged me and told me he straightened all the shoes in the entryway so that I wouldn’t trip. Then, he turned around and told his sister, who was mocking him, to shut up. Moment spoiled. It happens. I took him aside and told him that I could mend a broken ankle, but a broken heart is much more fragile. And, that if he really wanted to look out for me, he should find a way to bring peace to the family. I told him to start by doing something nice for his sister. Isn’t that what God wants from us? To love one another? Sometimes we get so caught up in our folded hands and bowed heads that we forget that real prayer requires action and doing something for someone else. He doesn’t need our love. He commands us to love Him because we need to love Him. My kids get such joy expressing love to me. But, I don’t need them to do that. I need them to love each other.
- I want to wrap you in bubble wrap and protect you from peril and mostly from yourself. But, if I did you would not be free. You have probably have heard that having a child is like having a piece of your heart walking around outside of you. It’s true and the pain is real at times. Especially when they fall or when they make a really, really bad choice. God made a big, wide world full of beauty and danger. And, he sends us into this world naked and alone with nothing but His Word as our guide. The challenge for me is to teach them His Word and let go; trusting that His Word is enough.
- I make rules to keep you safe and happy not to control you. My five year old free-spirited daughter told me that when she is a mom, she is going to say yes to everything. Apparently, I say no often. It broke my heart. I said no to eating sugar all day, playing with real knives and glass bowls in the backyard, and climbing the outside railing of the stairs. I had to explain to her that I have to say no to things that are dangerous or things that will make her sick. To her, that makes me a mean mom. She will get it when she is older. I hope. But, haven’t we all questioned God and felt his limits to be controlling? As we spiritually mature, we find great freedom and joy living within the laws that God has given us.
- You don’t have the intellect to grasp the whole picture so stop freaking out and just have faith. I have two children in middle school. Enough said. This is some kind of special torture. They know how to make mountains out of mole hills. Inventing crises where none exist. They want it their way or we can take the highway. They just don’t see that it’s okay to sit back and enjoy the ride sometimes. Pretty much every cliché in the book was written about middle school children. I tell them to just see what God has in store for them today. They don’t have to control every moment of their life. It is, in fact, impossible to control every moment of your life. It’s exhausting. And, it’s a message I need to tell myself, daily. Let go and let God.
- There is nothing you could do that would separate my love from you. I’ve come close to disowning one or more of my children on one or more occasions. I would never tell them that, though. It’s just that sometimes their behavior is off the charts mean, selfish, or disrespectful. The feeling passes and I remember that I love them. And, I tell them as often as I can that there is nothing in this world that they could do to make me stop loving them. Nothing. Same goes with God. He doesn’t love us because of what we do. He loves us because that is what He does.