How do our kids know if we love them? As a mother of three girls I know many times I took it for granted that my children knew I loved them. But the truth is that often we are not showing them love despite the fact that we have their best interest at heart. In fact, many of us believe that just because we do have their best interest at heart that our behavior is covered. In other words, if the motivation of my heart is right, my choices will be right, the problem is we may be operating under some serious mis- beliefs. We are so influenced by our own pasts and experiences that many times our good intentions may be colored by ungodly beliefs.
The more I come to know Christ, the more I understand how we are to live as believers and why. One of my biggest regrets is the fact that I focused too many times on the behaviors of my children and lost sight of the bigger picture- the message my choices sent them. In stressful moments, I often felt unprepared and found myself reacting to what was happening instead of responding. A good friend recently reminded me of the difference.
A reaction has no forethought behind it and is driven by emotion, a response is a thoughtful choice based on some deeper understanding.
My reactions resulted in many negative exchanges between my children and I over the past 18 years. One of my favorite Christian authors, Lysa Terkeurst, calls these “unglued” moments; mom has “lost it” and is pulling out whatever she thinks is going to work in the moment, frazzled, and not thinking clearly. I wish I had written down some of the ridiculous things I have said to my children that seemed like a good idea in the moment but later made me cringe! Sometimes we learn the hard way!
These days I pray with intention and ask God to help me respond in love by giving me the strength to control my reactions. I have a plan for my responses when challenges arise; it is simple, I ask myself, “how can I reflect Christ in this moment”? Not, “what do I need to get my child to do right now”, but “what do I need to do right now”. When I am in that frame of mind, God shows up. He gives me words and ideas that I know I would not have come up with on my own! On the days when I fall short, and I do, I ask God and my girls for forgiveness and give myself grace. (It is important that we treat ourselves with as much love as we treat others!) I ask God to help me continue to learn to be a Godly parent. I believe, in the end, it is our witness to our children that will have the greatest impact on their lives.
God bless the families in your care. Help us to be more like you and to understand what that looks like in our parenting. Give me grace and the compassion to give others grace, especially my children. Help us Lord to be more like you so our children will long to know you more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I would like to share the following resource as my family and I have been deeply blessed by it and hope that you and your children will be also.