to visit with a really good friend the other day. She is a mother to many and in so many cases she has served as a true spiritual mentor to me in parenting and in being a more excellent wife. Whenever we have time together, there are as many sighs of satisfaction for the rightness of what she says as much as there is laughter for humanity's foibles.
Our most recent visit did not lack in either. She shared honestly about her children's mistakes giving me the freedom to do so as well. It was not a bash your child session at all. Instead we were both able to see the mercy of God in how He had dealt with our children, and also how He had dealt with us as parents.
Before I was a Mom, I was a cynic. I would hear someone ask a pregnant woman, "So what do you want the baby to be?" And she would sweetly reply, "Oh, we just want the baby to be healthy." Cynically I would think, no you don't. You want him or her to be attractive, to be popular, to be witty, to be brilliant, to be the best at everything they try and make your name good.
Since becoming a Mom, I have remained a cynic but hopefully a healthier one, informed by a growing understanding of my faults and weaknesses in parenting. I have the similar selfish desires that my children show well for the sake of my name. It is a pervasive battle to remember that my children are not my namesakes. They are to be His namesakes. That knowledge should lead me to hold them to me less tightly and turn them over to Him more quickly.
How sad it is to come across parents who have based their reputations upon their children and are so unwilling to hear of their children's mistakes that they turn all comments into personal offenses instead of opportunities for spiritual maturity. The result is too often puffed up parents and children as neither willingly accept responsibility for actions and therefore miss the blessing of how God works to prune and truly reform. Sanctification is not man's work. It is a sweet blessing of The Holy Spirit.
This friend once again proved herself an encouragement and reminder to not fear my children's mistakes in and of themselves but rather to fear more that I would miss the work of God by getting in the way of how He is choosing to work in them and in me. For then only God receives the glory!