I have been a mother for almost 28 years...

I have been a mother for almost 28 years but something I read a few days ago has made me rethink my parenting. It seriously has made me stop and wish I could go back and do it differently. Its made me wonder, if knowing what I know now, can I make a difference going forward.

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As I was preparing a lesson for church about Ash Wednesday and Lent, my Internet search took me to an article that a young father wrote about his experience at the Ash Wednesday service at his church. He wrote that as he received the ashes he began to contemplate his own mortality. He said the ashes reminded him that he would not live forever and that life was meant to be lived courageously and purposefully.

As I read, I was right there with him. As I have gotten older I too have become more and more aware of how quickly life passes and I have refined my priorities and become more convicted that I want to make a difference in my life and be a blessing.

The article continued he said that as he sat there in church he turned to his young son that sat beside him on the pew. It was in that moment as he looked at this young boy with an ash cross smudged on his forehead, that he realized that his sons life was also fleeting. He realized his son was a vapor.

I don't remember how he concluded the article, I am not even sure I finished it, I think perhaps I just stopped at vapor.

As I have thought about this I have realized something, as a mother; I have spent hour upon hour upon hour upon hour focusing on keeping my children safe. I think I have said the phrase; Be careful more than any other phrase except maybe I love you. Of course I am sitting here thinking, well at least I love you came in first, but seriously, should be careful even make the list?

Its made me wonder, has my number one goal for the last 28 years been to keep my kids alive? Two questions immediately follow this question: Do I really think I can control how long they live, and (here is the real zinger) is the length of my childrens lives the most important thing?

Of course I have a rebuttal perhaps because I am still stuck in my habitual controlling mother thing but I do think that parenting involves teaching our children to be wise. I do believe it is wise to wear your seat belt, drive the speed limit, and look both ways before crossing the street. The lessons are nearly endless, but I don't think I am talking about lessons or even wisdom. I think this new awakening has more to do with vision and courage and priorities.

I tried to explain this to my almost 18-year-old daughter tonight as we we're washing dishes together. I told her that I wish I would have been more focused on challenging her to be courageous, and to follow God's leadings with abandonment and less focused on teaching her to playing it safe and stay alive. I wish she had learned from me that life is short but that's okay because it isn't about how long we live, it's about how well we live.

She has a heart for social justice. Number one on her bucket list is going on a shoe drop with TOMS taking shoes into a third world country and caring for those who have less. I think it's wonderful that she has a heart for people, but I can promise you that she would expect me to freak out and turn into a complete worrywart if and when she goes. Why? Because my job has been to make her life long and going to a third world countries puts this goal in a precarious place.

I told her that I think I have been confused about my job as a mom and we both started crying and something really unexpected happened- I think perhaps tonight she felt more loved by me than ever before.

I love my children- more than I could ever begin to express with words. I treasured them as babies and as toddlers I tried my best to teach them and encourage them. I've spent countless sleepless night caring for them when they've been sick. They have all spent the night in my bed when nightmares scared them or thunderstorms worried them. I have fed them, clean up after them, read stories, played games, taught them to walk and talk and tie their shoes

Ive been a good mom and a crazy mom and sometimes a terrible mom. Yes, I have screwed up plenty. I have been too strict sometimes and too lax other times. I have laughed with them and cried with them and been a good sport when they have laughed at me.

Sitting here tonight I realize I missed a really important step in parenting I think perhaps I thought God told me to keep them alive.

I want them to live, of course I do- to 100 at least, but I don't want that more than I want them to live for God. I want them to trust his leading even when it leads to places where danger lurks. I want them to fearlessly go where they are needed and love lavishly. If they find themselves in a dire situation I want them to know without a shadow of a doubt that there is so much more to life than what we experience on earth.

For 28 years I have been telling them about our great big God and this wonderful place called Heaven, but my words, Be careful have been an unfortunate caveats to my speeches.

So, let me say it at last.

J, K, D, W, and E,

Be brave, be courageous, be faithful, and be adventurous! Listen to God- go where he leads you (and if he tells you to be careful by all means be careful).

Live well, live fully, and live with love, compassion and understanding. Be generous, be forgiving, be a blessing and Glorify God!

Posted in Landscaping Post Date 01/14/2021


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