Monday, May 6, 2013

Repentance and Parenthood

I think we all have things we said we would do or never do as parents....until we became parents and we found that it was so much easier said than done. I had so many of them. Lists and lists and lists of them, if not on paper then at least in my muddled head. Some were mundane while others were harder to pin down but so much more important. Well, my kids grew older and my ideals fell, one by one, to the onslaught of reality. But through it all I was determined in this basic calling:  I would never to use my children to meet my emotional needs. I know too well what it is like to be in that position and I never ever wanted to lay that burden on the young backs of my children.

There comes a time when you have to realize just how far you have strayed from the path. Yesterday was that day. For years I beat myself up, in front of my children, for my failings as a mother. My security, my significance, my value as a person, was so wrapped up in being for them all I felt I was supposed to be and doing for them all I was supposed to do and loving them in the way everybody said I was supposed to love them. Motherhood was an idol to me and my children suffered the consequences.

The other day I wrote about how I try to do God's job, which is a really, really bad idea. My kids were never created to do God's job either and it is totally unfair and downright wrong to expect them to. They have to be free to change and grow and run and stumble and climb and fall and try and fail without my fragile self-image dependent on their performance. They have to be free to relate to me in ways I don't always understand, and love me sometimes in "languages" I don't speak, without my whole being feeling threatened and crushed.

Placing any such huge burden on my children and giving them so much power over my own spiritual and emotional and, yes, sometimes even physical health is wrong. It is sin. What to do? Repent. Repent and believe.

Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?

A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience

"Turn from it unto God." "Turn from it unto God." "Turn from it UNTO God." This is turning from believing a lie to beholding that truth. This is relationship. This is turning from an idol that cannot save to a God who can. I can love my children without condition because God loves me without condition. Repentance is a beautiful thing.

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