I can remember the moment I held my son for the very first time. The feeling of overwhelming love came over me as I stared intently at him not wanting to even blink. It was as if I could no longer remember my life without him just minutes after he was born. His tiny fingers wrapped around my pinky and I thought…I will never let you go! Little did I know that one day that was exactly what the Lord would require of me.
I still remember holding his hand as he took his very first steps at only nine months old. The way he tightly squeezed my hand as his little body fought to balance on what seemed to be shaky ground beneath him. It made me not only proud but feel as if it were my victory as well. Each milestone felt as if my heart could burst with joy. Holding his hand on his very first day of preschool as he boldly proclaimed entering a classroom of strangers, “Look who’s here everybody!” His confidence gave me the assurance that day that he was going to be just fine. Isn’t that what all mothers want? And even expect when we have children? That they will be just fine.
As a mother of five beautiful children I will admit I have felt a considerable amount of pressure, some probably self-imposed. Pressure to raise confident, well-mannered, reliable, trustworthy and, most importantly, God-fearing adults. The unspoken expectation that your children are a direct reflection of you and your worthiness on this journey of motherhood can be more than just a little taxing.
When I was a child, I had always pictured myself as a perfect mother, married to the perfect man, with lots of perfect children. Clearly I watched far too much television! But, I was determined to fulfill my plan by always telling my children how much I loved them every single day, by making sure they always had clean socks and a home cooked meal. As practical as these things may sound they were painfully absent in my own childhood. So, I set out to be purposeful in every decision I made as parent. I would be intentional!
Unfortunately, I failed to factor in my children’s free will, or that they may not always agree with me or would choose not to listen when I shared godly counsel that I was sure would only be to their benefit. I naively believed if they knew Christ as their Lord and Savior from a young age they would live drama-free, exceptional Christian lives that not only made me proud to be their mother but also made me look good. (Okay, that might be a little too honest.) I had determined that if I followed a formula of church, prayer and faith in Christ they would be able to avoid making painful mistakes like I did. I neglected to factor in their sinful nature. I also underestimated the spiritual battle ahead of me. That is ahead of all of us as parents. The devil is a formidable opponent and must not be scoffed at!
Ephesians 6:12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
I attempted to fight this battle on my own. Feeling I, alone, was responsible for the outcome. I believed if my children chose anything other than what I taught them that must mean I failed. I placed a weight on my shoulders not meant for me. I trusted in myself for their salvation when I needed to trust God. 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I now understand that any victory is because of the mercy and grace of God. I could hear God asking me to let go and let Him do the work only He can. It’s His victory for His Glory.
I now believe the promise in Philippians 1:6 that states, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” This promise is not only true for myself but for my children as well. It is His work.
My burden will no longer be raising perfect children but raising children that are perfected by the work Christ did on the cross. I understand now that I can neither be responsible for or take the credit of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of my children. My joy is now to love, encourage, and point them to Jesus whenever possible. To intercede on my knees for each of them when I see them choosing anything but Him. Those precious tiny hands I held through each milestone will one day be grown and stand outside my reach and when the ground seems shaky beneath them, my prayer will be that instead of looking to cling to mine, they will reach for the faithful hand of our Lord Jesus Christ to balance and steady them.
1 Corinthians 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
By: Gloria Scholten