- Tuesday, May 30, 2006
My eyes were red and puffy as I drove home by myself. The magnitude of motherhood overwhelmed me. Were the children getting what they needed from me? I wasn't sure. My mood matched the dreary day outside--the drizzle turned to rain and water splashed from my tires, spraying the concrete beneath with a muddy gray film. As the windshield wipers beat their steady rhythm, ugly thoughts beat at my heart, unrelenting in their questions and accusations.
I'd just dropped my children off at a homeschool function and I worried that my struggling reader would be embarrassed. Would he be able to handle the required reading? Was I doing enough to help him learn? And what about my youngest--we all tend to watch over him and undoubtedly I've indulged him. Would he be obedient and responsible? And should I have allowed my daughter to attend? A highschooler now, perhaps she should've stayed home and completed bookwork. Then there was the child I allowed to skip the activity because he wasn't interested in it. Was I too easy on him? Did he need to be made to go?
In that moment, the myriad of ways I'd let my children down washed over me. The times I hadn't disciplined well or followed through with a school project haunted me. The memories of my own character weaknesses mocked me. I wanted more than anything to be successful as a parent. After all, so much is at stake as I invest in the lives of my children. Their future hinges or me . . . or does it?
As I rushed down the highway, just wanting to get home, the song "Finger Prints of God" came on the radio. The words penetrated my weepy heart, reminding me that God is shaping my children and me and that He has a plan. No matter the rough places I see in myself or the struggles my children go through, my God is the Potter. He molds us into a work of art that only He fully sees now, but will someday reveal to all for eternity.
I hadn't slept well the night before (which undoubtedly had something to do with the tears and insecurities of that morning). I had finally given up on rest and curled up in my old blue recliner with a cup of hot chamomile and a whisper for help. I held my Bible in my lap and asked God to speak to me through it. I ended up reading in the Psalms. Three of the thoughts that jumped out at me the night before returned to my mind as the song continued on the car radio and I was comforted.
The first thought, found in Psalm 139:8a, reminds me that God is working out what He wants in both my life and lives of my children. It says in the New Living Translation, "The Lord will work out his plans for my life."
The struggles I would protect my children from but can't undoubtedly have God's fingerprints all over them. Someday I will see the fruit of character and faith developed in each of their particular struggles. I'm already able to see good things that have come out of my hard times growing up. I am comforted knowing that God won't give up on us--that He will work out His plans in our lives.
The next thought of comfort is found in Psalm 139:5 "You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head." (NLT)
God is all around me. He goes before me in everything, including my parenting. He prepares the way, leading me and showing me what to do. He also comes behind me. Undoubtedly, He's cleaning up after my mistakes, redeeming my actions for the good of my children. And he's protecting me from the things that would blindside me.
I am also reassured as I think on the truth that God's hand of blessing is upon my head and the heads of my kids. If I love them so fiercely and want to do what's best for them, how much more does their Creator care and move on their behalf? I imagine God's hand lighting gently on top of each of my children's heads--like when Jesus blessed the children in the New Testament story. Knowing He surrounds them with His presence and places His blessing upon them soothes my worries.
The third Scripture that comforted me is found in Psalm 139:16. "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." (NLT)
This verse made me wonder why I spend so much time fretting and striving. If God has ordained our every moment, why don't I just rest in Him and trust that He is making it all come together for His purposes?
As I rushed down the wet highway that morning, God reminded me that He controls not only my destiny, but also the destinies of my children. God put me in their life to care for them, love them, and pour into them--but I don't have worry and doubt my parenting, for their ultimate future does not rest upon me.
Though the weather that day continued cold and messy, my heart did not. I returned home and invited my son out for a birthday lunch, just the two of us. The relationship building that happened was far more important than the homeschool activity would have been. When I picked up the other three, they bounded to the car, jabbering non-stop about how wonderful their day had been. My oldest had been elected mayor and spent the day learning leadership skills, giving speeches, networking with others. She wouldn't have gotten that at home with her Science book. The struggling reader wasn't aware of his reading level. He fit right in with the other kids and the little one carried his duties well. What was it I worried so about?
I hope I can hold onto the lesson the Lord taught me that day. It seems too often I grasp His Truth, learn to entrust my children to Him, and then forget it the next time we hit a bump of some sort. But, I know that God in His love for this weary mom spoke definitively to me that day. Yes, my mothering will influence my children's futures, but I can trust that their ultimate destiny is shaped by the Fingerprints of God.
A home schooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.
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