I am so thankful for my husband. I am so thankful for my children. I know this may sound a bit off, but one of the main reasons I am so thankful for them is because they bring out some major sin in me. God uses that man and those little creatures to reveal so much of my ugliness, my selfishness, my desire for comfort and ease, and my outright sin. In doing this, God in his kindness draws me out of my egotistical mindset and softens my heart to realize that I am failing miserably at this job. I get angry, I think about myself WAY too much, I struggle with joy and patience and gentleness. BUT. BUT I have hope and I have forgiveness and I have truth and peace and confidence in a God that is way bigger than I am. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. This is not even about the hours of my day or the constant mental thoughts rolling through my mind. This is about heart work and training my babies and trying to communicate things about the wonderful, powerful, grace-filled God that we serve. I am not qualified for this; however, God has so graciously given me these three lives to pour into to. Man, is it humbling.
It can be easy for me to get overwhelmed about the things I am doing "wrong." I know there are better ways of parenting. I know that I need to be more gentle, more patient, less of this and more of that. I can easily get lost in those thoughts and think that my children's future relationship with God, future relationships with me and the world and their rate of success is dependent on how well Jonathan and I parent them. I try to communicate to them about the Gospel, about Jesus' incredible love for them, their need for a Savior and not being able to obey Momma and Daddy by themselves, not being able to be willing to share their toys by themselves. Most days, however, I feel like their stares are blank and that I don't make any sense to them. If it were up to me, they would surely end up confused and hopeless. BUT. BUT God is not dependent on me. Praise the Lord for reminders like these:
"Although we long to be faithful parents, we also rest in the truth that our faithfulness is not what will save our children. Giving grace to our children is not another formula that guarantees their salvation or obedience. Grace-parenting is not another law for you to master to perfect your parenting or your children. Our children will be saved only through the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit, who works at the direction of our faithful heavenly Father. He's the faithful, powerful, soul-transforming One. Yes, he may use us as a means of accomplishing his purpose, but salvation is entirely of the Lord."
"Pure, unadulterated, consistent love for God and pure, unadulterated, consistent love for others is the summation of all the law God has given us in both the Old and New Testaments. Of course, the problem is that we never obey these simple commands. We always love ourselves more than we love God or others. [. . .] We are always more focused on what we want and how we might get it than we are on loving him and laying down our life for others. [. . .]
Even though our children cannot and will not obey God's law, we need to teach it to them again and again. And when they tell us that they can't love God or others in this way, we are not to argue with them. We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior.
The law of God also hinders our advance toward righteousness because, in our pride, we think that if we just try hard enough or repent deeply enough, we'll be able to obey it. We read the promises of life for obedience and think that means we can do it. The promises of life for obedience are not meant to build our self-confidence. They're meant to make us long for obedience and then, when we fail again, they are meant to crush us and drive us to Christ."
"Give Them Grace" by Elyse Fitzpatrick