I had left my shoes at the door like I always did. (For some insane reason, we had bought white carpeting for our first house. A pre-kids decision we regretted oh-so bitterly.)
But this time when I went to put them back on, my shoes were already occupied.
My firstborn, two years old at the time, had carefully placed her little shoes neatly inside mine.
All these years later, it’s still a vivid memory. It was the first time I fully absorbed the magnitude of my role as Mom.
I had the responsibility of modeling for another little person how they should behave. She was looking to me for guidance on how to navigate life and all its complications.
There’s no doubt we should take that role very seriously. But if we’re not careful, that weighty responsibility can feel like a pressure to be perfect.
That the happiness and well-being of shaping our children all rides on us making all the right decisions. Doing and saying all the right things.
That’s a lot of pressure.
And it’s a lie. But for years, that’s how it translated to my heart.
It took years for me to absorb the truth: Results are not my job. That’s up to Someone far wiser than I am. My job is just to be obedient.
What does “obedience” look like? Well, it’s certainly not a “perfect” science. I mess up often and daily. But, through the power of the Holy Spirit I’ve found it looks something like this:
Walking with God. Spending regular time with Him. Relying daily on His wisdom, courage, discernment and insight as we mother our children.
Walking with Perseverance. Even when it gets really tough. Even when our kids fight against our boundaries. We have to keep fighting for their best interests — even when it’s costly, unpopular and inconvenient. And it often is.
Walking with Consistent Integrity. Do our actions match our words? Maybe not always. We’re human. But kids respect our willingness to admit our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. It lets them know that mistakes are allowed and God’s grace is always available to us — and them. Even though we mess up, our kids notice our consistent, but imperfect, attempt to live out our values.
Whew. Obedience is a tall order that requires the power of the Holy Spirit. But our ability to choose to obey — or not — is under our control.
On the other hand, we can’t control every choice our children make. We can influence. We can guide. Ultimately, however, we have to choose to trust them to their Heavenly Father — Who knows them far better than we do and Who promises that He will work everything for their good. (Romans 8:28) Even those ill-advised choices.
He doesn’t need me to do His job. Those shoes are far too big for me to fill.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:5 (NLT)
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