When our first child, Catelin Elizabeth, was born I was scared to death. It finally hit me, “What a great responsibility this is – raising a person! I have to teach her everything!”
Of course I wanted to be the perfect mom – a Super Mom. Ha! (Insert the rolling eyes here.) Puh-leeze
But who knew the cost of motherhood would be so great? The loss of sleep, sanity, and self is real!
Thankfully, the rewards of motherhood are infinite in wonder, joy, and amazing love! My children are true gifts from God, and I love them more than words can express.
In fact, let me introduce you to my amazing crew of Groeschel people.
CATIE: 20 years, typical first born here, responsible, thoughtful, encouraging
LOVES: rules & order, cats (shh…), books, ministry & worship
MANDY: 19 years, tenderhearted, intuitive & witty
We thought she was our last! (God’s sense of humor is sweet!)
LOVES: techy stuff, dance, words, & church ministry
ANNA: 16 years, artistic, outgoing, compassionate, encourager
LOVES: people, music, dance & church ministry
SAM: 13 years, disciplined, self-controlled, focused
LOVES: family, friends, church, history & soccer
STEPHEN: 11 years, funny, competitive, fearless
LOVES: math, soccer, church, video games & reading
JOY: 10 years, joyful, friendly, go-getter, leader, nurturer
LOVES: people, dance, Jesus, stuffed animals & penguins
Don’t they seem like great kids? They really are! But hey, they aren’t perfect. Nope. Just like their parents, they are each a work in progress by our Father.
Speaking of being a “work in progress”, I sometimes find myself filled with significant discouragement and even fear. But disheartened or not, I really want to do the best job I can as a mom. So to gain a better perspective, I’ll occasionally take an inventory of sorts and list where I may have had parenting successes, as well as failures.
I’d like to share some of my personal parenting observations with you.
- My children love Jesus! They observe Craig and I loving and knowing Jesus. They see Jesus in us, and I am seeing Christ in them. And there is no greater joy than this!
- We have been authentic and repentant before them.
- They are learning and growing in wisdom and knowledge as I teach them God’s word.
- My commitment – years of faithful dedication to all God’s called me to be as their mom and home educator.
- They maintain a high standard of purity.
- They have a growing faith.
- Close family relationships – they love us and each other!
- They are secure in who they are.
Well, that sure made me feel good! But the inventory doesn’t stop there. It’s important to look at our failures. My mentor once said, “The way we live our day, is the way we live our lives.” So here we go:
- I’ve been too controlling – I should’ve allowed more choices.
- I’ve been a poor example – “Do what I say, not what I do.”
- I’ve been distracted and not fully engaged in listening well.
- I’ve been inconsistent with rules and discipline.
- I’ve been too much Martha & not enough Mary (Luke 10:38-42).
- I’ve changed the standards –Younger ones are getting away with more.
- And too many more to list!
I, I, I, I… Now, I didn’t list these failures to deflate myself (God gives us more GRACE!). I listed them to gain an honest look at where improvement is needed because only I am responsible for what I do or don’t do.
But please hear this: We can NOT take all the credit or blame for their outcomes. No. But we can pray. We can war for them. They are ALL in a spiritual battle. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Some of you know this battle full well.
Momma, you may want to do as I’ve done and sit and take inventory of your parenting successes and failures. I pray it will encourage and sharpen you.
Go to God in humble prayer and ask Him to lead you. And as you do, allow Him to cover you with His amazing grace.
To be continued…