When I had babies so many years ago, I don’t think that I fully realized something.
Wait– let me rephrase that. I know that I absolutely did not realize something.
Each one of my babies– in one way or another– would mirror some of my own worst sinful traits and most annoying habits.
They say that kids change you. And that is certainly true. And, quite honestly, I expected to be changed. It was coming face to face with my own sin on a daily basis that I wasn’t quite expecting.
I have great kids. I am so blessed. But almost every day, I will spot a bit of selfishness or anger or backbiting or gossip, and, while with my mouth I am “encouraging them” to stop what they are doing, inside I am frustrated because I know–as sure as I know the sun will rise again tomorrow– where they learned that behavior.
It is rather interesting to me that, as parents, we often have the toughest time getting along with the kid(s) that are just like us. Could it possibly be because of this dynamic? These kids that are like us force us to come face to face with our sin almost every day. And we don’t like that. It irritates and frustrates us. Our pride is hurt over and over again, because we know we haven’t conquered this sin in our lives and now we’ve condemned our children to struggle with it for the rest of theirs.
Could that possibly be part of the reason?
Whatever the reason, I do believe that, instead of growing frustrated, we need to humble ourselves and recognize the sin in our own lives, while we do the necessary task of raising our children.
How important it is that we do not pretend we are perfect while we discipline our children, while all involved — children, spouse– knows full well we are not.
Life is changing now for me. My kids are young adults and my role looks quite different. And the mirrors grow so much clearer. I can see some of the struggles and battles they are going to face because of the example I set. And I feel like a failure.
But, then I remember God’s grace and the victories over sin I have experienced through the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. No, not perfection, but victories. I am not the same person now that I was twenty years ago. God is slowly, but surely, sanctifying me and making me look more like Jesus.
And I know that, through their obedience to God’s Word and the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in their lives, my much beloved children will also have that same victory in their lives as they mature.
Now my main job is to pray.
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