“You are very understanding and patient,” I said to my nine year old.
“I don’t think I get that from you, Mom,” was his ultra-serious response.
This was a snippet of conversation with my youngest son yesterday afternoon when I apologized for storing a small ‘Get Rid Of’ pile in his bedroom.
I assured him I would, in fact, get rid of the old memories holding the space of his personal domain hostage. His response, at first, made me laugh.
On second thought, it made me ponder the reality that my children are coming to the age that self-awareness takes hold. With being self-aware comes a stark reality that many of their unsavory traits came from somewhere…most likely their parents, the main influencers at this stage of their young lives.
As I sat stunned, wondering what other less-than-Christlike traits my children not only inherited from me, but are starting to understand they inherited from me, I felt a mixture of sadness, apprehension, and the slightest tinge of pride.
As much as I want my children to learn from me, to wholeheartedly seek a beautiful example for maneuvering life’s treacherous terrain, I know with the good, comes a large helping of the not-so-good.
While I pray they see my persistence and determination, I know they will likely struggle with severe stubbornness, a lack of listening to wise counsel, and a large helping of, “I can do this on my own.”
Until they discover, they cannot, in fact, do everything on their own.
My only consolation is that, if there is one thing about my parenting, it is real, it is raw, it is piled with holes of imperfection and stained with hues of brightly-colored ‘What the heck am I doing?!’
As many mistakes as I make daily as a mother, daughter, wife, friend, co-worker, and countless other hats I wear, I know the one thing that sets me aside from a drowning heap of defeatism, is a saving grace I certainly do not deserve, but wholeheartedly and humbly accept.
If there is one thing my sons learn from their mother, I pray that it be to accept their imperfections, to work hard at improvement, but with a generous helping of grace.
To realize life is hard, but it is also beautiful.
One minute you are drowning in a sea of angry waves. The next, you are soaring sky-high, reaching out to touch those puffy white clouds and share space with the mystical eagles in flight.
But for the grace of Jesus, this life would be one wrought with disappointment and heartache. My sons may have two very flawed parents in their father and myself, but they are daily learning about a heavenly parent that does not struggle with sin.
He is perfect. He is healing. He is understanding. He is loving. He can take those ‘less-than’ traits and turn them into journeys of joy, if only we give Him our life reigns.
I may not be understanding. I may not be patient. But I am aware of my desperate need for Jesus. And that, if nothing else, is the one thing I hope my two precious sons inherit from their mother; that Jesus fills the empty spaces even mothers cannot fill.
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