Some days I wonder, when my children grow up and reflect on their early childhood, what will they recall?
What impressions have I made? What childhood memories have already anchored themselves within my little people's tiny, growing hippocampuses?
Do I still have time before the bad ones start counting? Do I still have time to put in some good ones?
Oh, I hope that in fifteen years I don't find my children sitting snuggly around the Christmas tree and describing me as an un-showered, irritable mess of a woman.
I hope they repress that so-often sight of me yelling at them over my coffee, across the kitchen table -- my hair a tangled-wily mess, make-up smeared, and eyes fuming.
I hope they delete the memories they have of my sanity breaking down: Me sitting on the kitchen floor in front of the dishwasher with my head in my hands, frustrated to no end that for every mess I clean, two more are simultaneously being made, and crying at the thought of scraping one more dried cheerio off of a breakfast bowl.
But no doubt... those memories will make it in there somewhere! My only hope is that they recall them with laughter.
It is a little vain, too, isn't it? Wanting them to remember their childhoods as if they grew up in a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel.
Who could be so perfect? Who could be so... sinless?
It's totally unrealistic. And what's more... who really needs a perfect mom anyway?
My only hope -- my only comfort in being a good mother -- is that more often than not, I get it right when I've gotten it wrong.
I mess up a lot. My children will never know what it's like to look back on a mother who didn't make mistakes.
But it's my hope that they look back and remember learning how to ask for forgiveness -- because I modeled it for them.
It's my desire that they'll look back and remember that every time I failed them, I pointed them to the my Redeemer -- to their Redeemer.
It's my desire to teach them that Christ's power is made perfect in our weakness, and when we boast, it's not of ourselves, but of Him!
That's the most I can ask for: To get it right, after I've gotten it wrong.
It's the one thing that actually can help them. It's the most applicable lesson I can teach.
Why? Because their hearts are full of restless evil, too. And for the rest of their lives, they will struggle with sin. They will fight ,and toil, and labor, and fail. And not because I was a terrible mom, but because that is a day in the life of a pilgrim.
The best I can do -- the most profitable wisdom I can offer, is to teach them how to respond to any and all circumstances in faith -- particularly, those circumstances which have been tainted by the ugliness of their own sin.
I can teach them the lessons I know:
To pray faithfully, "Lord, less of me and more of you!"
To fall before the throne of grace when they are weak, and to come boldly to the Lord in a spirit of repentance when they've done wrong.
To love people and to be forbearing because Christ loves you despite your flaws and imperfections.
To give much because they've been given much.
To run this Christian race with endurance and perseverance.
To submerge themselves in the Word, because it is the only thing that changes lives.
And to follow in the footsteps of mom -- not living perfectly, but living graciously.
At least, that's the hope.
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