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When your child ministers to your heart

Today I was “that mom”. Three kids, all screaming and unhappy. Isaiah is normally in school, but today had the day off.  So, we took the morning to go to the playground before heading to Aaron’s (my middle) gymnastics class. It quickly became one of those mornings.  While we managed to finish the class, and I made it out without yelling, my heart was fighting not to be angry. I thought to myself, “why do I even bother”. But then something amazing happened and God redeemed the morning. My oldest son, Isaiah, saw my brokenness and chose to encourage me through his apology.

Before becoming a parent, I thought that I would give all my knowledge to my children, and they would grow to love God through it. I am learning, I was wrong.  Our children learn to love God, because they see how we love God.  It’s the little things every day. How we speak to our children. How we show grace to them and to ourselves. How we handle disappointment and frustration. And do they see us asking God for help? As we fumble through parenting God covers it all in grace, and sometimes if we are lucky God shows Himself working through our children.

Today God chose to humble me through my four-year-old son. After being “that mom” with the out of control kids, my heart was sad and fighting anger. I wanted to yell and ask them why would they do this to me. To me? Was this really about me? Was I angry because they embarrassed me? At this point, I had two choices: to yell and get mad, or take a minute and ask God for help. I admit that my first response is not always to stop and think through the situation. Most of the time I just yell and have to apologize after the fact.  Today, God was gracious and gave me the heart to ask for help.

We drove home in silence and after preparing lunch, I put the two littles down for their nap. Now it was just me and my oldest left eating lunch in silence.  He chose to break the silence by saying “Mommy, I’m really sorry that I wasn’t listening. I should have asked Jesus for help.” Boom. My son’s wise words hit me hard in the heart, softening me to let it go. I do not tell you this to be prideful, I say this because it is encouraging that our children are listening. I again had two choices: I could brush him off or I could submit to accepting his genuine apology. Upon accepting his apology, it opened up a conversation about how we are responsible for our words and actions, even when we are hurt. That even mommy needs to take a step back and pray for help.

We as mamas cannot plan these lessons, we do not intentionally put ourselves in embarrassing situations so that we can teach our kids how to respond. However, if we ask God to give us the heart to see the little lessons, I believe God can and will use them for his glory. When we fill ourselves with God’s word, we are less likely to give into the lie that parenting is about us. Our job as parents it to raise our children to be Godly men and women, who long to know Him personally.

Parents are not perfect, far from it, but when we humble ourselves to God, He can and will use it to teach our children how to live out the gospel. I have come to believe that this is the way God intended it to be. Yes, we should teach our children to read the Bible, it is crucial that they know how to learn on their own.  But our children learn how to practically invite God into every day, by watching us stumble through it.  From one imperfect parent to another, use your imperfections to teach your children about how much we need God every day, and they will begin to see their need for Him as well.

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