Our expectations can often get in the way of God's work in us and our children. We wear ourselves out trying to create children who will behave well so that they can affirm us as "good mothers". But, does this answer the deeper question of Christ? Are we satisfied by a false security cloaked in good behavior?
Good behavior is a by-product of a deeper story; it should be worked from the inside out.
But setting aside the exact reasons, let's focus on the exhaustion caused by trying to do it backwards.
Our children, like us, have sin in their lives. They can't help it. We can't help it. This is why Jesus chose to come to the cross---to give us a way out so we wouldn't be separated from God forever.
Sometimes coming back to the very basics is just what we need to see clearly ahead. We cannot nag, threaten, or yell our children into perfection. It's unrealistic. Perfection does not exist.
Instead, we need to focus on their relationship with Christ and how the Spirit helps them live righteous lives. Living a morally good life is too small a thing to live for. It's not enough. Is it important that we live righteous lives? Absolutely! But this is not something we can do, or our children can do, alone. It requires the Holy Spirit guiding, directing, and living in us.
It requires that we actually let go of our ideals rather than cling to them. We were given freedom in Christ so we didn't have to live in bondage to the things we simply cannot do. That doesn't mean we don't aim high. It means we don't hold so tightly to the missed mark. Christ hit the mark we couldn't hit. He filled the gap we couldn't reach so we could live for Him.
When our children sin, when they disobey, when they fight, yes there are consequences. But it shouldn't be a constant disappointment from us that they aren't living up to our standards. Because eventually, they will stop trying, knowing that nothing they do is good enough for us. If we base our acceptance and love off their performance, they will fall short every time.
Instead, show them the cross. Guide them through their mistakes lovingly and share the consequences of sin. But refrain from badgering a child for messing up. Even Christ does not put such a yoke on His children.
This is not license to make sin "OK". Not at all! It's a guide to help lead a child to repentance, forgiveness and grace with conviction, not guilt and shame.
It also releases us from the bondage of expecting perfection from our children and allows us to see them through the lens of grace. Compassion is more powerful than shame and blame; conviction more constructive than guilt.
Do not let your heart grow faint in helping your children when things are tough. Go to Christ, and renew your strength and lead your child to renew theirs. The goal is Christ. To know Him. Do this first, and all other things will fall into place.
Keep sin in its rightful place. It's not to be glorified. Christ is to be glorified for wiping out the sin we could not do away with. Our children are no different. When they sin, yes, talk about it, but don't glorify it. Don't give it more attention than it deserves. Recognize it and then praise your Father for removing it. He alone deserves the glory.
Teach your children to follow in the footsteps of Christ, but when they stumble, help them back up, brush them off, and continue to guide them.
Joy in Him,
Christin - Joyful Mothering
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