All I ever wanted to be was a wife and a mom. Nothing was more important. Truth be told … as I look back … I just wanted to be loved. I wanted to know I was lovable. Let me explain.
I definitely have a mom and dad… and they loved me. I know that now. But, being the oldest of 12 children, I didn’t really feel loved. I was lost in the crowd. I felt needed and wanted… because of what I could do to help… not for who I was. There was a real hole in my heart. I didn’t understand it… but I felt it … and I thought that I was somehow “lacking.”
I was blessed to be loved by a remarkable man who began to teach me what unconditional love was all about. We soon had children – four in five years – and I wanted to love to the best of my ability… perfectly. Somehow I thought that if I loved my children… and they knew it… everything would work out and we’d be one big, happy family. MY CHILDREN WOULD KNOW THEY ARE LOVED! However, my ability was limited.
When I was 25, I met Jesus. Now He is unconditional love. He loves me …failures and all. He died for me… knowing everything about me… and still loving me. And He has promised to NEVER GIVE UP ON ME! That is a great comfort.
In this walk I have discovered several truths.
I cannot love someone enough to save them. Only Jesus can do that.
Scripture says that “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5) This is a good thing because His love is limitless… mine is not.
Love is given in many ways… and received in many ways. But if there is a disconnect somewhere… if how I give is not how the other receives… there is a short circuit! To say that everyone is different is an UNDERSTATEMENT!
All four of my children are so different. What “worked” for one… didn’t “work” for the other. I used to say that one question I was going to ask God when I saw Him was, “Why didn’t you send an instruction manual with each kid… tailored for that child?!?!”
One day, I thought I heard the answer… and it made so much sense!
First, if we had an instruction manual… what to do in every situation… for each individual child… the book would be so thick that we would be totally overwhelmed.
Second, if… by some remote chance… we did absolutely everything in the manual, we’d take the credit for how wonderful our children turned out. That credit can only go to our Heavenly Father.
Lastly, God wants us to go to Him for help! He knows our child much better than we do. He knows their heart, their gifts, their strengths and their weaknesses… and His plans for them.
So, if we are such imperfect parents, why did God give us children in the first place? It certainly doesn’t seem fair to the kids. Life is difficult enough without having to start out with parents who don’t have their own act together yet!
I don’t have all the answers, but here are some of my thoughts … and some things I have learned along the way.
I learned to give grace and forgiveness to my parents for how they raised me… mistakes and all.
I learned that only God is the perfect parent, and look how His kids have messed up.
It is our job to train our children to not need us… to be independent… to not only survive, but thrive out in the world. If we were perfect … and our parenting was perfect, how would our kids adjust to the real world?
I learned that not only must I teach my children, but I must always be ready to learn… about them, from them, for them.
I learned that consequences are not a bad thing. We learn from them. Our children learn from them… if we let them. HOWEVER, we don’t learn not to play in traffic by getting hit by a bus. PRAY FOR NON-FATAL CONSEQUENCES!
If we did everything right, how would our children learn to handle their failures?
So, to all the moms and dads out there who are still in the throws of childrearing…
Love your children – in all their uniqueness – to the best of your ability.
Ask God for His love to be poured into your heart.
Forgive your parents… they had imperfect parents, too.
God’s Word says that when we ask for wisdom, He gives freely. ASK! And expect Him to answer!
And to all the parents who are done raising children …
Don’t blame yourself for everything that has gone wrong.
You were not the only influence in your child’s life… good or bad.
God gave you a free will… and your kids too.
You have learned (eventually) from your mistakes. Your kids will too.
God got hold of you… he can get hold of your kids. He loves them even more than you do!