Archives for May 2014

Mature and Complete

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Last night as I tucked my thirteen-year-old son into bed, we talked about his disappointment in not receiving an academic award at school that he had missed by a hair.  Getting this award was a goal he set several months ago, so as you can imagine, he was feeling pretty low.  “Why even try next year, it won’t happen for me again,” he mumbled. I totally understand that mentality, yet as his mom I wanted to say, “No, try again!  Keep trying until you succeed!” And I did say something to that effect, but truly, when we take a step backward, meet with failure in our lives, don’t we sometimes just want to throw in the towel?

Here is a poem/saying I came across today (serendipitously, and will share with my son) that eloquently spoke to this topic:

Our entire life is made up of choices,

What we decide,

the action we take,

the attitude we display

All represent the steps of life.

 

Sometimes we take two steps forward

And one step back.

Some of us take baby steps

Some of us take giant steps

 

But the secret is not to let that

One step back turn into a failure.

Learn from the backward steps.

Step forward again.

 

~Catherine Pulsifer

God speaks to this topic also:

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  ~James 1: 2-4

It’s difficult in the midst of failure, unachieved goals, disappointment to feel like it is a “good thing,” but God assures us it is, and that the development of our character, that we are mature and complete,  is one of his highest goals, at which he will not fail!

The Mom List

I was talking to another mom the other day and she was commenting on how parenting is just so darn hard.  And that it doesn’t end when they walk out the door at eighteen.   I silently nodded my head in agreement.

As a parent of two teens and one almost there but thinks she’s 32, I can honestly say that parenting has been the hardest job I’ve ever had (to which my 12-32 year old said, “It’s not really a job, mom, since you don’t get paid for it.”  “Then why does it feel like so much work?” I retorted.  Chuckles and a “good one” from her.

It’s not because of who my kids are that make parenting so hard–they are wonderful people who I am proud to call my children, but because of the fact that they are human beings who my husband and I are in charge of raising and launching into the world as confident, independent, spiritually grounded, kind, loving, merciful, generous, responsible, serving, educated, and oh, did I mention full of self-control and the ability to respond maturely in all situations?

Is that unrealistic?  YES!imagesO3KLQAFT

Yet, if I examine what I wake up each day wanting to instill and teach in my children, this is the list.  Even as I write it out I realize that this is why I go to bed some nights feeling discouraged as a mom. Why do I have such high expectations?  Because as Moms, we just do.  We feel incredibly responsible for raising these little people who have it all together. The more my children grow, the more I realize that they are imperfect people and I am an imperfect mom.

Not that I didn’t know about the imperfection on both ends.  It’s just a short trip down memory lane to remember the exhaustion and the crying and the fits and the “mine!” of three children under the age of five.  And the “holding it together” as a mom as long as I could and then either doing deep breathing exercises in my closet or just throwing all self-control out the window and yelling “Stop pulling your sister’s hair!!!!!”  But what I didn’t know then, was that I wasn’t going to yell or calmly speak them into perfect children, ever.  I know that now.

And I am never going to be a perfect mom.

Perfection is for one person, Jesus Christ.  The rest of us are on journey to grow, fail, succeed, fail again, learn, un-learn, and more growing.  Can we embrace that truth for ourselves and for our children?

I believe that God says to me, “Amy, you are my child.  And while I teach you and move you to be a better person every day, it is a life long journey.  Just remember yesterday when you made a judgment about someone (in your head, thank goodness)? Life-long-journey.  It is the same for your children.  I have entrusted you to raise them, teach them, love them, and give them everything you have while they are under your roof, but their journey as my child is also life-long.  I have GRACE for you, Mom.  You can have GRACE for them.”

Grace for me. Grace for them. Grace for me. (I can throw an extra one in for me (and you)  since it’s Mother’s day).

Can we walk in grace Moms?  Can we stay true to the boundaries we give our children, teach them in the way they should go, invest countless amounts of time and energy into correction and guidance, but at the end of the day, know the list, the character journey for our children, is life long.   Letting our children make mistakes and learn from them is not a reflection of bad-parenting, but quite the opposite. And we can be at the other end with open arms of grace and love.

And we can give ourselves grace and love when we mess up too.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, who tirelessly sacrifice themselves for their children.  Press onward in this amazing journey!

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