Now that is a treasure in today's world. To sit and talk with a mom who is bald-faced honest about her kids' mess-ups and screw-ups and yet still lives out the gospel before them and has an unshakeable faith in what God is doing--THAT is a treasure.
I know one mom in my circle who has done that with me. She mentored me when my kids were young and she still mentors me now that my sons are older. Her love for the Lord and His work in her kids' lives is convicting and encouraging to me. I am grateful for the treasure her words and prayers are in my life. She is a unique gift.
Gradually as I share my own story with other moms, I am finding strong, persevering women who are first not ashamed of the gospel and therefore, not ashamed of discussing the sins of their children with an eye to the redemption of Christ.
These moms love their kids, believe in their kids, have done all they know to do for their kids, and are sorely grieved when their kids make really crummy choices and so then suffer the even crummier consequences of their choices. But these moms do not give up. Because they have chosen to not build a personal reputation upon the successes of their kids, they are not devastated by the failures. Instead, these moms have fixed their eyes upon Jesus, knowing Him to be the author of their own faith, and the One who completes what He has begun.
These moms are the ones who are restorative in their words of encouragement to me. And I talk with them every chance that I get. From them I receive perspective for the battle in front of me, the battle for my kid's soul, the battle against a seductive world, and the battle of my own sin. With them I have freedom to both laugh and cry as shared sorrow becomes shared strength.
But back to the previous discussion, I do not see moms like this in the blogging world. Maybe it is the cynic in me, but honestly, I think moms today do not blog about the mess-ups not out of some sacrosanct privacy of their kid, but because to blog about the mess-ups invites a criticism of our parenting.
There. I said it. Not popular I suppose, but it is what I think.
There is a party line that reads like this, "If I have kids who live by faith and respond rightly to Christ, it is only by the grace of God, not because of my parenting. I am wholly imperfect." Yes, I agree. But the outworking of the unstated is that we believe our parenting does make a big, fat difference in how our kids turn out.
If we did not believe that, then why do we spend so much time, energy, money, prayers, tears, sweat, blah, blah, blah, on our parenting? For the most part it is an all-consuming investment of a significant portion of our lives. Is it not?
And I 'm not trying to set up some argument here that our parenting does not matter. I think it does. But the line between the impact of our parenting and the life results in our kids gets blurred a lot of the time and gets really blurred when a life screw-up is in view.
Cue the substantial Biblical evidence of 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles where kings who followed the laws of the Lord had sons who did evil and kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord had sons who followed the laws of the Lord. In other words, if it was a hard and fast principle that good Christian parents always produced good Christian children, then we wouldn't even have the story of the prodigal son, right?
Why then does parenting by the Book matter so much?
1) Because God has commanded us to tell our children of His word and His works. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6:7; Psalm 78)
2) Because God has commanded a parenting relationship in His law. (Exodus 20:12)
3) Because wisdom for life is only found in His word. (Proverbs 1:1-9)
4) Because a loving parent disciplines his/her children. (Hebrews 12:5-11)
So, how does one wrap this up? Well, I do not believe we abdicate our Christian responsibility when it comes to our kids in sharing our faith. Our parenting does matter. We must persist in it according to God's word, humbly dealing with our own sin and failures, while humbly dealing with our kids' sins and failures.
But I think we must also remember that His work in our kids' lives will ultimately show His glory over ours. So when the inevitable sins and failures come to light, we need not fear for our "reputation." With an eye fixed on Christ, with a heart for the beauty of the gospel, we can see our kids' sins as we do ours, in view of the redemption that Christ has purchased for us.