So, yesterday morning I pull into the garage after coming home from the gym. It is very early, and I expected everyone to still be asleep, but instead Grant darts out of the kitchen to greet me. “Mom! I drew you a picture! So did Ethan! We drew a picture of you!” This should be good.
So here’s Ethan’s picture (age 4)…….
“Ethan, what is mommy doing?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, what’s that big blue box?”
“A swimming pool.”
Grant adds, “We are drawing pictures of you in the summer!”
Oh. I guess I am relaxing poolside. Still doesn’t explain that hair.
Wait a minute. Aren’t we supposed to be playing at the pool? Eating Popsicles at the park? Walking around the zoo? What in the world?
Very, very telling.
Is this how my kids view their mother? In front of the computer? With those short legs?!
Well, don’t you know that this picture sent Becky Crenshaw into the land of self evaluation. Exactly how are my kids experiencing me? I would have hoped Grant’s picture to look like this….
I’m just diggin’ my polka dot apron. Studying the Bible, serving up fresh fruit, organic veggies, fresh milk. A sweet, servant mother. Loving Jesus. Always loving my life.
Wake up Becky! This isn’t you. The truth of the matter is, you DO spend too much time on the computer. Too much time frustrated with your kids. Too much time on your cell phone. Too much time running. Too much time slappin’ some nuggets on a microwavable plate and yelling “Dinner!”
I don’t mean to sound self-condemning. I do give myself lots and lots of grace. We are busy people in full-time ministry with three boys and an 89-year-old, sometimes live-in, grandmother. But I don’t want my kids to look back on their childhood and say, “Yeah. My mom stayed home with us, but most of the time we were in the van, at the Y or she was on the phone.” How sad.
So, Lord Jesus, I come humbly. Needing a little grace and a whole lot of balance.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul says to the church in Corinth, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” You see, the best way for Paul to point the people of Corinth to Christ was to point them to a Christian they could trust. The Gospels had not yet been written. So to learn about Jesus, they had to look to Paul. He was all they had to go on.
So true for our children. We are who they trust. We are the example of Christ to them. My children are too young to understand the Gospel on their own. They need a shepherd to guide them. Someone to observe. And do they ever observe.
So I am evaluating myself, with grace not condemnation, to see exactly how my children are experiencing me. I am asking God to give me their little eyes so I can tweak my example.
My prayer is they will see first and foremost my love for Christ, my love for their daddy and my love and genuine servant’s heart for them.
However, this is what I am afraid they are seeing…
* Mommy on her cell phone almost every time we get into the van
* Mommy at the computer a lot
* Mommy asking me to “Hold on a minute” until she finishes whatever she’s busy doing
* Mommy leaving us to go for a run
* Mommy always asking us to “hurry up”
* Mommy not playing with us much
* Mommy fussing a lot about crumbs in the floor, going outside with Popsicles and unmade beds.
I do want different for them. I really do. I want my example to point them to Christ. I want my example to be of love and patience. I want to be present with my children.
Just because I am always with them doesn’t mean I am always present.
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, seeing as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be. 1 Peter 5:2,3
My little sheep need an alert shepherd. A shepherd, on her toes, to guide them toward the Giver of Life. Towards the Chief Shepherd Himself.
If I’m not searching Him out for myself, my boys are in a world of hurt. How will I know where to lead them? It starts with me!
(and Brent, too, of course. But for all purposes today, I am thinking of the daily grind of being at home for the summer).
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. Ephesians 5:1,2
I am to imitate Him. To love like He loves. To give of myself as He gave Himself. It is a trickling effect!
If I don’t give my kids an example to follow, the world sure will. The world has much to offer.
I must say, we are very guarded parents over what our kids are exposed to in the media. But the other night, Grant and Ethan couldn’t wait to watch Minute 2 Win it because Kevin Jonas was going to be the contestant. What? Since when did my kids start keeping up with the Jonas Brothers? Wow. At least it was just Kevin Jonas (I myself am a silent Jonas Brothers fan). However! I sure as heck don’t want my boys to start making idols of these guys! They are just that – guys. Cute little, talented guys that can sing very well and happened to make it big. They, too, were created by the Creator – just like us. They are to be admired, yes. Imitated, no.
God has called me, as a parent, to imitate Him so I can teach my children to be imitators, as well.
We are to be “examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, [we] will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:3,4
I pray that with summer coming, that the Lord would use me to imitate full surrender to Christ. To be an example of His love, grace, structure, discipline, balance and lots and lots of fun.
I drew this and posted it on my refrigerator. This is my prayer. This is how I pray my children will remember their mother. This summer and for a lifetime.
Arms opened wide. In abandoned surrender to the King.
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