The mirror a child is
There was a time just a few short years ago when modeling respect and giving the gift of honor to my husband was low on the list of things I did well. In fact if I asked him, it might not have even been on the list. I did not appreciate his sacrifice of time and the investment of his energy into a job that provided for our family. I simply expected it and acted like it was just what he should be doing. While maybe it was, I still missed the boat entirely of expressing gratitude for him being the breadwinner for our family and giving me the gift of staying home to raise our children. Perhaps then I didn’t see it as a gift even…but that’s another post.
The worst part of this was the uncanny way our kids picked up on it, though quite young at the time, and the lack of respect they bestowed to him. More than once I heard words and observed a tone of voice as they spoke with him that sounded uncomfortably familiar. It sounded like me.
The more I seek God’s heart and simply read the Bible, I’ve come to believe that children and the task of raising them is one tremendous way that the less-than-lovely things in my heart are refined and drawn out. It’s a process that won’t ever end and one that will never be fun. But it is critical to me growing and learning how to love. God’s directions are simple, in John 15, just love each other as extravagantly as God is loving you. Thing is, loving little ones that destroy your home, soak up your good sleep, complain about the food you make them and are in general, imperfect tiny human beings….is one of the hardest things to do some days.
These past two years have held all sorts of things I didn’t anticipate or plan for. When our fourth baby was born, our life was in a fair bit of disarray. Our kids reflected it right back to us. It was painful. We both slowly, sometimes grudgingly, laid our lives down and sought new hearts. We had big choices to make. We learned new ways through trial and error to love and respect one another.
When we see the mirror that our kids are holding up today, it is certainly a mix, the growing and learning are never-ending. But when my kids pray at the lunch table with no prompting from me “Dear Jesus thanks so much for daddy working so hard so we have this food and mama can stay home with us…”, my heart spills over in delight. Of course those same kids an hour later can later bite one another or throw a prized lego creation across the room. It’s not perfection at all.
It is however, a process. A good one. Only just now in this current season of life am I finally realizing that perfection isn’t the goal after all. A simple life poured out as a daily offering to the Life Giver is more like it. Some days that’s messy. Some days its beautiful. Every day it’s a choice I make.