Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Discovery about my Children





I have four children, the oldest of which is almost nine years old. For the last eight and half years I have put a lot of stress on my self. I always thought that kids should be perfect. If they weren't perfect then the parents must be doing something wrong. They must be inconsistent in their discipline, lacking character themselves, or just plain lazy. 


Every time one of my kids would disobey, especially around other people, I would feel this horrendous guilt, inadequacy; it made me really dislike my children and dislike being around other people because I just "knew" that everyone was looking down on me. I thought that they thought I was being a horrible parent when my kids would disobey or do something foolish. 

It were as if every time I left my house I felt like we were on stage performing a play and everyone had to do everything just right, act perfectly, and always say the right thing.

Then this year I was studying the book of Ephesians when I realized something so academic, so basic. I am a sinner AND so are my kids. I was saved years ago, and had the realization that I was a sinner, but I had in word said my kids were sinners too. I knew that, but I sure didn't act like it. I expected perfection from them. When I realized that my kids were sinners and that is WHY they are not perfect all of the time it suddenly made sense and lifted a burden off my shoulders that should not have been there in the first place. 


"For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. "
Psalm 103:14

Yes, we should all train our children and teach them to obey the rules, teach them what "no" means, and what "stop" means, but kids are sinners, and on top of that they are kids. Kids are not mature, they don't know how to react correctly in all situations, they don't always share, they don't always have good manners, they like to run and play and make noise. That is part of being a kid. 

When I stopped expecting my kids to be "perfect" all the time and allowed for some grace and forgiveness in my life things really changed for me. I enjoy being with my kids and being around other people. I still struggle with having the right reaction when my child does something they shouldn't and other people are watching. I fight the thoughts "What are they thinking?" or "What do they think I should do right now?" I struggle deeply with what people think of me, and that is wrong. I should be doing what God wants, what the Bible says, and what my husband thinks is right. We must all remember not to put other people's expectations, real or imagined, in front of what God expects from us.

"But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again."

Psalm 78:38-40


I have one of "those" kids. You know, the one that always finds something to break, the one that likes to test the limits, is stubborn to no end, and likes to take things from other kids, and whack someone when he doesn't get his way. I think there is probably at least one in every family. He is the one in a family that you roll your eyes at, behind the back of course, when he comes in to your house or when you spot him on the play ground. He is the one the mother struggles with the most--thoughts of failure, confusion, always questioning how they are parenting him, doubt. I know, because I have one. Not a week goes by that I don't question everything I know in parenting. 

Part of the hard part is other people's reaction to that kid. Even though you think you secretly despise this kid when you see him, he probably knows it and so does the mom or dad. It is very discouraging. I beg you to fight those feelings. Smile widely when they walk in the door, greet them, and talk specifically to the child. Pray and ask God to help you love them even when they are unlovely. They too are sinners and are in need of you to show them God's grace through your actions. The mom and dad need your encouragement to keep trucking on and not to quit. They don't need advice, unless they ask for it specifically. They need your prayers and love. They need to feel like when they visit you that you enjoy them being there and not just looking forward to them leaving. 

I have a few people like this in my life and I enjoy being with them soooo much. When I leave I feel refreshed and ready to face the next obstacles in front of me. It is like a water hole in the desert. If you find yourself on either end of this--I have been on both sides--the parent of the stubborn child or the friend of the parent of the stubborn child, remember that we are all in need of some grace in our lives. We are ALL sinners, and no one is perfect. Try to be THAT family that loves everyone no matter what they are going through, be that watering hole for the tired parents, be the parents that remember their kids are sinners--don't expect perfection, but slowly work towards your realistic expectations.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10


15 comments:

  1. Love this! Probably because I can totally relate to it! Thank you, Jamie! Love you!

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  2. I have TWO of those! haha guess they are called toddlers. You are a great mama, and I respect you so much! No judgment from this side. We should let our crazy bunch around each other more often!

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  3. This is good Jamie. I really struggled with this on furlough. I had to come the realization that as long as I'm working to improve my children, the simple fact they make mistakes doesn't make me a failure. It isn't easy tho! My children sure humble me:) Not always from their faults but my own shortcomings. And give me more grace and patience I hope with others. Before I had kids, I sure had all the answers:) But I think I lost them all. Lol

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  4. Very well written. I had the opposite problem...I would realize my kids were sinners, and didn't expect them to act much better....but then I would get the....Why does you child act like that? Don't you care? And so the guilt and pressure was from outside in. She is three....how to do you expect her to act....like a three year old of course! She is going to want her way, she is going to be angry when I say no, and she is going to love me with a pure love also. Ohhhh....all the pressure either we put on ourselves....or others try to pass on. One thing my mom told when I was young that helped through all the rough....you deserve a better mom days is this...."God gave him/her to you...He knew that you were the BEST mom that he/she would ever have. So...pray for wisdom and do your best. You are exactly what he/she needs."

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  5. Laughing, nodding, and understanding all the way through this! Yes, I wanted perfect children. My first taught me soooooo much about life and parenting. I truly believe in God's grace and mercy and that all kids, just like all parents are dust. Thank the Lord for making up for where we lack. Loved your post!

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  6. Such a great reminder for young moms. I had one of THOSE children. Never give up on them. THOSE children are the ones who (if you can continually point them, lovingly, toward obedience to our Saviour) become well settled adults who have a strong Will that is pointed in the right direction (that of serving God no matter what the hardships or temptations come). I love how you applied Psalms 78:38-40 to children. Great reminder.

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  7. Such a great reminder for young moms. I had one of THOSE children. Never give up on them. THOSE children are the ones who (if you can continually point them, lovingly, toward obedience to our Saviour) become well settled adults who have a strong Will that is pointed in the right direction (that of serving God no matter what the hardships or temptations come). I love how you applied Psalms 78:38-40 to children. Great reminder.

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  8. Such a great reminder for young moms. I had one of THOSE children. Never give up on them. THOSE children are the ones who (if you can continually point them, lovingly, toward obedience to our Saviour) become well settled adults who have a strong Will that is pointed in the right direction (that of serving God no matter what the hardships or temptations come). I love how you applied Psalms 78:38-40 to children. Great reminder.

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  10. Well, I've never had stubborn or disobedient children...Hahahah...I really appreciate your honesty here. I think it's going to help a lot of moms to understand that Yes, our children sin.

    I loved what a friend of mine said one day. She was talking about when our children do something really bad in front of others and we get so embarrassed. ( pride) We all have it. She made the comment that people are watching sometimes just to see how we respond. I thought about the witness that can be to the world. They many not understand or agree with the way we deal with our children, but as we deal with our children, we are showing our kids that we love them unconditionally even when they make mistakes. BTW that goes for adult kids too! We are always leading them back to the Lord. Always!

    I wished we lived closer. I wouldn't have a problem with a stubborn one..lol. Also, I think it's so important that we encourage one another as Mom's. It's good that you realized this while they are young!

    You are a wise and loving mom! Carry on and keep writing!!

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  11. Well said. Praise God that He has showed you - and so that burden is lifted. We all have areas we struggle with. Once we see the area of our struggle, it takes time as we have to focus on what is true, and take those negative thoughts captive and replace them with truth. It's a process as we allow God to change our way of thinking. Thanks for your wisdom. I am the mother of 3 that are all "wide open" children. At times such as the supermarket I feel judged. I try not to focus too much on that but instead on molding and training their wicked hearts that are not much different from mine. We all want our own ways. Trying to help us all want things God's way. Keep us updated on how it is going.

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  12. This is excellent! And something I am trying to learn. I am on the mission field with my parents raising foster and orphaned kids. I am learning... And that I can't worry what they think. I must love them and know that we are doing our best!

    I don't know if you remember us from a WFTW meeting? Praying for you today. So glad I found your blog.

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  13. Hi, Jamie. Happy Birthday! It's probably the day after in Kathmandu, so sorry this is late. Time flies when you try to keep up with three grandkids. Lol. Hope to catch up with you this spring or summer. We miss you all.

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  14. Awesome article Jamie, thanks for the great reminder, I too have a kid like that, and have friends kids who need that love and prayer....

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