Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Parenting Builds Character

My children range in age from 6 years old to young adult. Some I gave birth to and some I didn't, but they're all precious.
Yesterday I sat next to my grown-up, married son and brushed a crumb out of his beard. His beard! It doesn't seem but a week ago I was washing peanutbutter off of his face. Time does go, doesn't it? That freckle faced little boy that declared he would live with me forever is a married man.

I have, like you, both struggled with, and cherished my motherhood. Its the hardest, best job there is. It's not just biological, it's a spiritual calling. I have so often fallen short of the ideals I set for myself. I have failed time and again, the intention to be patient and kind. I spent most of my 30's feeling guilty about the ways I wasn't earning "Mom of the Year". But I didn't give up. I allowed God's Word to develop my character and I  pounded heaven in prayer for those babies and my husband and myself for the ability to do this most-important work as best we could with our limited resources. But I learned there's no such thing as lack in God's economy and I had all the resources I needed in Christ. The Holy Spirit brought life to my mothering time and again when I thought I'd drown in the day-to-day of laundry and dishes and meals, and again during the years when my husband was so often gone and I was alone with what seemed too much responsibility. I would have missed out on all the good, rich stuff I'm enjoying now if I had allowed self-pity to lead me to dark places instead of strengthening myself in the Lord. 

God's assignments are sometimes mountains to climb and valleys to travail. There are certainly dragons to battle, but He also provides those sweet, restful green pastures we love so well. Motherhood is a series of thrills and drudgery, heartbreak and the most pure and sincere love to be found- after the love of God. Devotion and character are developed in the years of the hardships of mothering and homemaking, like any other hardship. I remember well the slow and gradual change from selfish young lady to devoted and sacrificing mother. My husband too,from selfish man to becoming over the years a tender-hearted father and husband. Putting the needs of others in front of your own on a daily basis will change a person. 

It's so easy to get discouraged in this culture with parenting. For all the ways I have wounded my children I ask forgiveness and God's scandalously generous mercy. For the victories I point again to His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes it seems like the forming of a loving human takes two steps back and only one forward- in the kids and us! Growth is painful but that pain is necessary for development of character.  So often I have wanted to protect my kids from hurts and dangers but I have learned that the person they become for God's Kingdom is so much more important than their comfort. Or mine.

I'm so thankful to be on this ride with Jesus and my family. It's not easy but nothing is more worthwhile than being a missionary to my own little corner of the world. If I endure, then maybe I will reap a harvest of Jesus-loving kids that are missionaries in their own spheres- big or small. I'm rejoicing in hope, and remembering that my troubles are light comparatively, and hope doesn't disappoint when it's in the right place. Besides that, children give you grandchildren!
                                                           Romans 5:1--5 NKJV

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

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