I spent some time with a new mom over the weekend. She looked at me and pointedly said, “I just feel like I’m making a million little wrong decisions everyday.” And then I just laughed because my friend, a mom of a few weeks, had succinctly expressed the very essence of motherhood in that one little phrase. What is the right way? Should I have put her to sleep then? Is she napping enough or too much? Maybe I should have put her on solid food earlier. Or later. Or maybe I should be making my baby food. Shoot- her diaper was poopy. How’d I miss that?? DON’T YELL AT YOUR BROTHER!!! (probably shouldn’t have yelled that)
All these little decisions come back to haunt us as we lay in bed for the night, waiting to be woken up by the little people we surely failed during the daylight hours. Our worries start with the most basic of “keeping aliveness” and then segue into the emotional work of parenting. Oh woe to us, in the information age, where we can google amber teething necklaces or find a study based out of Botswana to support why we’re supposed to be baby wearing or using lye soap. I mean, if the cave men did it, it’s good enough for me! And dammit, why can’t you share?! But what lies at the heart of our struggle?
This quote is nestled in a friend’s kitchen and I’ve always loved it. It’s alarming to realize how similar a toddler resisting a parent’s instruction looks like me resisting God’s instruction. Do I run and hide? Scream? Ignore and go about my day without making eye contact? All the while God chases us, just like we would pursue our own children. Are we willing to give our children grace? Are we willing to give ourselves grace? Consider this quote by Edward Welch:
“People are our cherished idols. We worship them, hoping they will take care of us, hoping they will give us what we feel we need. What we really need are biblical shapes and identities for other people. Then, instead of needing people to fill our desires, we can love people for the sake of God’s glory and fulfill the purpose for which we were created.”
After all, isn’t the chief end of man to glorify God? On the regular I twist that to try to use my children to bring me glory. Their sin sends me into a guilt spiral. This week let’s all revel in the freedom Christ offers. To parent for his glory, doing our best job, not for us but for Him.