Underlying the monumental endeavor of rearing and schooling a house full of kids, there exists a constant tension. As a mom, I want to push my children to do their best, but I don't want to be overbearing. I want them to strive for excellence...but don't want them to be enslaved by perfectionism. Structure to our day and to our activities is essential...but I must not be obsessively bound to a calendar or a clock. I want to respect their personalities...but I don't want to cater to their personal sins. Add to all of this the struggles I have with my own sinfulness, my own wrong attitudes and motives.
Always, in the back of my mind, there is the question, "Am I doing what's best? Am I asking too little of my children, or am I asking too much?" This question is a thin blanket over the fear that all my prayers and good intentions and hard choices and personal sacrifices and lifelong labor are working not to build up my children and encourage them on the path to godly adulthood, but rather are warping and twisting them into self-absorbed, perverse, angry malcontents who know nothing of the holiness, grace, and mercy of God.
There are good days and bad days in this mothering journey.
What makes a particular day "good" or "bad"? Maybe it's just that today is gray and cold, whereas yesterday was warm and sunny. Maybe it's the anticipation of a fun weekend ahead, or the emotional come-down after a holiday. Maybe it's a particular day in my monthly cycle. Maybe it's that we all are well-rested and well-fed...or exhausted and due for some comfort food. Maybe it's unresolved issues with my husband, or undesirable influences of my neighbor.
So today is a bad day. Oh, we got all our schoolwork done. The laundry is caught up. Dinner is in the oven. I even got to go for a walk back on the farm - but I spent most of it crying, wondering what on earth I'm doing, and why am I doing this, and did I just totally misunderstand what I thought was God's direction in my life so many years back, and am I just screwing up all the people I love most? Praying, God help me! Make something clear! Show me what You want, and help me to obey!
What's to be done with the bad days? With the heavy emotions?
Before starting supper, I checked Facebook. A dear sister had posted this quote from Lydia Brownback as her status: "Real prayer includes letting go of your insistence on a particular answer or timing. If you have really prayed, you can simply rest and wait for God. Trust Him with your concern, and your anxiety will clear away."
Rest. Wait. Trust.
So it comes back to that again, to the Gospel. Where I have erred, Christ must redeem, in His own way and in His own timing. He died to cover my wife-ing, my mothering, my home-schooling...because I just keep smearing those precious things with sin. But, yes, I am confident that His grace is sufficient to redeem all of this.
And I must trust that His grace is sufficient to redeem the children that, as a sinful and twisted woman, I am mothering with a fallen, broken heart.
Trust. Wait. Rest.
1 month ago