No matter what or how you parent your children, there will come a day (if it hasn’t already) that despite your very best efforts, “aha” moments hit you. You see where you misled, misspoke, misinterpreted, misguided, mis…
Today I mourned…that I ever parented with ears listening to others, (listening to more than the Spirit). Or when I made decisions because of expectations of others; or because of criticisms by those who didn’t know my child; or by those more interested in outward behavior than inward heart issues. These are the decisions I mourn, the ones that in my life, lie on the floor, reeking with the putrid smell of regret. I can’t sweep them away. I can’t deodorize the room. I can’t find the fresh scent that’s poignant enough. It’s that strong. I can’t help but ask questions. In times of uncertainty (that’s an awfully big word), wisdom was promised. Did I not seek it? Is that why I mourn deeply today? Because I see my failure? Because I wasn’t fully mature and yet guiding these children? Am I mature yet? (I know I’m not). This seems so bad. Did I do the ONE big thing I had hoped I wouldn’t? Did I misrepresent God to my children?
So, if yes to any or all of the above questions, what can I do now? I find it somewhat futile to over-analyze, you can’t un-speak words, un-do deeds, un-make a mistake. I do find something happens when I present God with this. I’m just kneeling with not a lot to say here. I mutter something about hoping He can just see my heart because I had hoped I loved my kids enough to do “it” right. I didn’t. My heart holds my words. “Where I am wrong, I repent. Where I fail, I ask for forgiveness-from my children and from you, my God. Where I lack wisdom, I ask for it.” It’s in that stillness and brokenness that the freshness comes like a fine mist. Though soft and unassuming, forgiveness is real, and amazingly, available. Can I truly breathe it in? I want to.
I hesitate to even write these words because I know not everyone will get it. I’m not prompted to write because of something my children did or didn’t “do”. I have amazing, terrific children, so it won’t make sense to some. While to others, it will be assumed that I am saying I wasn’t strict enough, that I didn’t demand enough and that this somehow justifies my children not living up to your standard. That’s not it either. I mourn that I am flawed and that as much as I love my children, there is a loss in this parent/child dynamic. It is that I can’t be perfect for them. I mourn that I fail. I mourn the fallen state of myself and of every other human, and that because of it, we, as parents are never perfect.
My only rescue is the gift of grace. Despite all of my flailing, grace sweeps the floor, steadies my heart and tells me to breathe deep. I share because I am not alone. I have a feeling we all need a little grace-sweeping.