Two weeks ago I had what I like to call an untethered day. There were tears and anger and frustration and lack of purpose. The day where you drop the ground coffee all over the floor at the same time the six year old accidentally dumps her breakfast cereal in the living room.
That kind of day. And I was spiraling deeper and deeper into somewhere I didn’t want to be.
“Girls, can you come pray for mommy?”
And I collapsed in the hall with a red face and a racing heart. I felt four little hands on my shoulder. My littlest began,
“Dear God, can you please help Mommy not be mad. Can you please help her feel better because, because we just love her so, so much. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
The deepest of sighs escaped my lips. Little hands and little words can do such big things.
As my oldest finished and the two retreated to the corners of the house with their books and dolls, I sat there on the rug in the hall. I remained in the close, near presence of God called down by the honesty of six-year-old words and the almost embarrassing transparency of them.
Such simplicity and such grace from my small people.
Throughout this year I’ve been working on teaching my daughters to take responsibility for themselves and in small ways I feel like I’m making some strides in practical parenting.
I’m teaching my children to make their own food, I’m showing them how to do laundry and they, alone, are now in charge of cleaning our bathrooms. Last spring, they got up before school, packed their own lunches after brushed hair and teeth and then began getting out things for breakfast. And then on Saturdays or Thursday afternoons together we’d scrub toilets and sinks and I could sit back with satisfaction that I’m raising daughters with a few ounces of responsibility.
The word equipping keeps flying around my head as we work together. I must equip these girls to be responsible, to make the right choices and in the end, make the right choice about Jesus.
Yes. Their own choice.
My children learn Bible verses, they read and are read the Bible, and they pray. But at the end of it, when they’ve flown far from my daily view, their lives and choices must be ones they own. We can’t make those choices for them.
Whether we shelter our children from the world or whether we thrust them deep into it at an early age, our daughters and sons will make their own ways. The only thing we can do is to equip them to do this on their own.
Love God and others.
Wrestle with hard issues.
Ask good questions.
Depend on God.
Most of the time equipping simply means letting them watch us do those same things.
In the middle of my floor, sitting deeply in the words of my daughters and admitting my own failings, I knew that, no I hope that, they can see a human mother. A mother who is sad sometimes and happy sometimes but at all times needs her Creator to love her and carry her.
And someday, maybe they will choose to let others help carry them when they can’t make it anymore and when they are untethered and feel ill-equipped for the world like I so often do.
Is it hard for you, like it is for me, to show your humanity?
Do you worry about your children making bad choices? How do you manage those fears?