As I am cooking dinner Gabby comes into the kitchen holding a temporary butterfly tattoo and proudly asks, "mom, can you put this on my back like yours?" Have you ever immediately regretted a decision YEARS after you have made it? That is exactly the feeling I had in that moment. Why did I think getting a lower back tattoo was a good idea? I mean, I know I was only 23 but STILL! When I signed the paperwork there should have been a, "are you SURE you want to put your tattoo there, this is only going to be a cool fad until Britney Spears shaves her head" clause...I digress.
This was one of those moments that really illuminated how closely our kids really do watch us and how they look to us to set the example for them. They are sponges and they absorb EVERYTHING...especially the "fun" words you might use while stuck in traffic, they REALLY love those words. We are responsible for setting the example for our kids, I wish I could put that expectation on their school or on the church but when it really boils down to is, it's on us. We will be the ones standing before God one day taking an account for how we raised them. Were we faithful stewards? Did we train them up in the way THEY should go, or did we train them up in the way we wanted them to go? Did we pray for them? Did we invest our time into them? Did we speak life into them?
One of the greatest responsibilities we have is not building an empire, but raising the future leaders of the world. We are entrusted with these kids to equip them to build on the foundation we have laid for them. Is the foundation we are laying broken and dysfunctional?
Yes, we are human and we will make mistakes. We will do things or say things that we regret. We will lose our tempers and dream of the day our homes are kid free. I was only 21 when I had my first son and we all grew up together, so he may need counseling at a later date...So how do we ensure we aren't jacking our kids up?
We need to be leaned into God...DAILY.
I have faced situations where I have zero idea how to handle it. I have had to have conversations that I didn't know what to say. I have had to solve problems I never dreamed I would have to solve. I have felt crushed by the weight of this responsibility and I have felt like I was drowning, I have cried myself to sleep and screamed in pillows. The ONLY thing that I could do was cry out to God in those moments. I have to ask Him to give me clarity, wisdom, creative ideas, strength, boldness, peace...and the list goes on and on. And He never ceases to meet me where I am and fill in the gaps where I fall short.
Often times we will turn to our friends, read 'how-to' books, watch tutorials, scroll Pinterest to help us solve our problems (and all of those things are great and helpful), but we can't substitute guidance from God for worldly wisdom. There have been times where God has lead me to read a book, or speak to a certain person but those things are no longer the first place I go for wisdom and counsel. My kids are ultimately His, and I have been given the responsibility to steward them so I want to hear from God about how to raise them, love them, care for them, train them, discipline them etc.
We need to read His Word
God has set the best example for us to follow. He has faithfully and endlessly loved His kids. He has disciplined, loved, lead, forgiven, trained, encouraged, inspired humanity throughout history. We need to read His word to learn from His example and know what He has to say about certain challenges. It also our job to make sure we are teaching our kids what the Bible says. I know I don't want to be known as the generations that was so hungry for fame that we forgot to teach our kids about Jesus.
We need to pray His Word
Don't even get me started on prayer because I can talk your back leg off about the importance of prayer. However, I will say this. When you come into agreement with what His word says about something you have the authority and power to change the course of things. Our kids need moms who pray for them. Our kids need moms who hear what heaven is speaking over their lives and declaring that. We can't be too busy to pray, we just can't. With every form of evil present at their finger tips they NEED us praying for them. Not just what WE want but we have to be willing to pray scary prayers, the "whatever it takes" prayers.
Get in community
WE need church and our kids need church. They need to be a part of a body of believers who will help hold them accountable, who will teach them to be the church in the world. Men and women they can look up to other than you. They need to know what it means to serve the hurting and to be a part of something bigger then themselves. Maybe you have been hurt by the church, and I get wanting to avoid that again BUT people are people and we tend to hurt others even when we don't mean to. Don't keep your kids from the church because you have been hurt by a person, find a church that you can get rooted and planted in, a church that fans the flame in you and loves you and your kids.
Will you mess up, say things you wish you hadn't, make decisions you regret? Yes. Welcome to life. Will your kids have a "mom you are so mean, I can't believe you didn't let me date Tommy the biker when I was 12" story when the grow up? Yes. But they will also say, "Thank you for spanking me when I got crazy and giving me boundaries and teaching me how to love Jesus."Being a mom is tricky waters to navigate but the good news is, you aren't at the helm you just need to be obedient and steward well the gifts God has given you.
Mother's Day is right around the corner! You can purchase exclusive copies of "Because Crack is Illegal" on my website only! It will be available everywhere books are sold in October!