When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.
— Psalm 65:3 (NIV)
For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
— John 17:19 (NASB)
If anything, these last couple of weeks have taught me how incapable I am of parenting in absence of the Spirit of God. I’m a miserable failure as a mother. A rage-a-holic. A bully. A selfish, lazy, humanistic prima donna. Everything is about my immediate needs: for sleep, quiet, cleanliness, productivity, etc.
As if my own failings aren’t enough to camp on, I’ve got this strong-willed child, see. He has the ability to drive me to distraction with nothing more than a well-played giggle or an emphatic “No!” How do I fight it? The demand for relentless discipline, the around-the-clock bad-copping, is making my head ache.
And let’s not even discuss potty-training.
I can’t do this. I’m not enough — of anything — to make this work correctly.
My sons are doomed to become “those kids.” The kind other parents warn their kids to stay away from. They’ll wonder: What’s wrong with those parents? How did they allow their kids to become such monsters?
That’s the bottom line: the purpose of my life is to serve as a warning to others. I’m now a cautionary tale.
I’ve lost control. I’m a mess. I failed.
Failure isn’t a paralytic. The world keeps moving. Choices are still to be made. Despite my preference for curling up in a ball on my bed and telling the whole world to “Go Away,” I haven’t run out of time to try something new.
I’ve gotta get my head together. Start at the beginning and rework my strategies.
At the heart of this is pride.
I want my kids to obey me. I fear the criticism — or even critical thoughts — of other parents. I don’t want to feel inept or look like a failure.
It’s all PRIDE.
It’s all about me.
Which has got to change.
It’s not about me. It’s not even about my kids. It’s about fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. It’s about God’s glory.
Remember that? The mere act of God’s creation fulfilling the purposes He set for each creature glorifies Him just by being as He made them to be. The destination is not the important part: it’s the journey. The daily, mundane, sacrificial dying to self, the repudiation of my inclinations against His will. Doing the job He’s set before me, day by day, faithfully and with excellence.
Changing diapers with excellence? Yipee.
I have to begin at the Source. Live up to the commitment to dig into His Word each day and surrender my heart to His Spirit. Stop trying to do this on my own and give all these difficulties over to Him.
I have to stop raging over the injustices done to me when my kids misbehave. I have to take emotion out of it. I have to sacrifice my “right” to get angry. I have to be calm. Firm. Authoritative. Loving.
I get exhausted just thinking about all this. I can’t do it.
But He can.
I don’t have it in me. But He can put it there.