I “read” (more like briefly glanced through) a lengthy blog post early this week posted a couple months ago by a young woman on how she didn’t want to be like her late mother, merely existing in an unfulfilled life and expecting her child to live up to some sort of burden. I also glanced through the comments praising her for her honesty and courage. It’s been on my mind, a tiny kernel just heating up and waiting to pop. This is more of a universal cry to all children to look back on your parents in love and for parents with kids at home to be encouraged.
I am two little someones’ mother. Obviously, I have many, many years before my toddler is able to objectively separate his emotions from his childhood, and I hope that maybe when that time comes he can look back at me, at our family, and say that he still loves.
As a parent, especially for the one who is home with the children, your desires, wants, and even needs constantly are superseded by the desires of those in your care. And you have to be consistently loving, gracious, joyful, and sane in your responses and corrections. Even then, your charges may display your worst characteristics or pick up some on their own, and if you have boys, you can expect them to be physical in many scenarios (at least in my house). So you have these tiny, emotionally unstable, fragile beings smacking you, pulling on you, pinching you, jumping on you, or just plain clinging to you for most of the hours of the day (and sometimes the night). Once you make it through those early years…well, I don’t know what happens next because I’m not there yet.
Ezekiel 14:12-23 has been in there popping around with the daughter’s blog entry. To sum up, God says that if He brings His wrath and disaster on the land, even three holy men — Noah, Daniel, and Job — could not save their own sons or daughters. The men’s righteousness could save only themselves. Why? Because those children, by their own conduct and actions, show that they deserve destruction. So your best efforts will not save your children or turn them into wonderful people.
This is a little liberating for both parties. I can sacrifice everything for my children with no guarantee that my efforts will be realized in their lives. This would give me leverage to hold over their heads and likely make them resentful (“I gave up this for you”). OR I can do my best as a parent to guide them in their lives, follow the calling in my life, and put the rest in God’s hands. God has already sacrificed and His efforts actually accomplished their freedom and salvation.
God-fearing parents can certainly bring Christ into their home and create an ideal environment for their children to chose to follow Him, as I’ve seen in my husband’s life. But Christian parents cannot confer their salvation onto their children like a mantle. In the same way, a child raised in a secular home can turn to Christ despite their upbringing, though they may be a little rougher around the edges. It can be tough to feel connected when you’re rubbing elbows with folks raised in the church. I imagine it’s like a peasant trying to not stand out at the king’s party. The thing is, we’re all peasants. Even I have to remind myself that it’s not the outward appearance but the heart.
As a child, I hope that my parents lived in freedom but I especially can’t hold them in condemnation for my faults. I’m sorry to them for when I have done that. And I hope that they can let myself and my siblings live freely without holding their chosen sacrifices over us.
If you are a parent, please be encouraged that only Christ can save your children and that you are free to live by love.