by Karla Hein
I used to think I was a calm, rational person. Then I met me, the mother of two preschoolers. My delusion shattered. I’m a nice person…the first time I have to wrestle dancing feet into a pair of jeans. Tell me to potty train a small human and my “good mommy” persona starts to slip. Most days my words are less than inspirational. Dirty dishes ferment on the counter; toys are scattered in every room. My husband comes home from a busy work day to hyper kids and a frazzled wife.
I was raised by a wonderful mother and had the privilege of observing many other capable mothers. These ladies nurtured their families the best they could, and I didn’t have a clue that perhaps they were clueless too. I was startled when I discovered that I was expected to know how many wet diapers my child had in the last 24 hours. Or I didn’t immediately have a hallmark response to my son’s nightmare about a blue dinosaur stealing his bike. Or what to do when a piece of carrot got stuck in a pixie nose.
I have slowly concluded that, like everything in my life, parenting doesn’t have much to do with my perfection. Instead of focusing exclusively on the temporary responsibilities of brushing teeth and playing cars, I realize I have a higher calling of providing a continual feast of the Word of God. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:7).
I desire my children to “Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good” (Rom.12:9). The Bible provides timeless direction for how to teach that path to a child. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You” (Ps. 119: 9-11). Obviously, I can’t guarantee they will follow Christ, but I can surround them with the beauty of the Scriptures and the example of a life of faith.
Life is fragile, and I won’t be here to see them through each step. My goal is to teach them to have confidence that “God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea” (Ps. 46:1-2). What a contrast to the anxiety of being in control of our own lives! What a testimony to a lost world! What a blessing to a mother’s heart! “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4).