God’s Math for Good Mothering

Math is not my forte. As an English major in college I tried to get out of as many math credits as possible. It wasn’t always the concepts that frustrated me; it was the process. All the long complicated steps it took to solve one problem overwhelmed me.

I have one big math problem taking over my life right now, namely, potty training my two-year-old. I just want the problem solved, and don’t want to deal with the process. It’s hard to navigate all the failures, setbacks, and change. Yet, potty training is just a taste of the larger process of the Christian life. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says,

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I believe parenthood is one of the good works God has prepared for me to walk in. And yet, not all of my days feel all that good.

I get angry at my oldest son when he disobeys. I’m annoyed when the baby interrupts my morning cup of coffee. I fight to not view my children as inconveniences in my life. In summary, I am not the perfect parent. But I know one who is.

Read the rest of this post at DesiringGod.org >> 

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3 Things I Can Learn From a 2 Year Old

I can be a child sometimes. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. Good when I have the childlike faith Jesus talks about in the gospels, but bad when I’m throwing an adult temper tantrum. Our children are a tool God uses to show us who we are and who he is. We are meant to instruct our children, but often times our children are teaching us. What on earth could I learn from a little person whose life experience equals two years? Here are just a few:

1.) I Am Finite

My son’s world is very small right now. His favorite people are mama, daddy, baby, and his grandparents. His knowledge of the world consists of home, church, the library, and the park. So far, the only pain life has inflicted on him has been scraped knees and a busted lip.

He tries to enter the adult world by eavesdropping on me and my husband’s conversations and then attempting to engage us about it. “What happened, mama?” is a recurring question throughout my day. He just wants to be involved; be in the know. Yet, he is limited in knowledge, experience, and understanding. This limitation is one reason hearing ‘no’ can be frustrating for a child.

As an adult I am finite and limited compared to God. I can’t grasp the “no’s” and the “why’s?” of life. I am still learning and growing in my understanding of God’s creation and God’s Word. My limitations should cause me to cry out, “Abba, Father! Help!” My loving father is infinite in wisdom and understanding and his power is limitless.

2.) I Try to be in Control

My son might be frustrated by the answer ‘no’, but he certainly loves the opportunity to say ‘no’ himself. When it’s time to go upstairs and get dressed, “no.” When it’s time for bed, “no.” When it’s time to eat dinner, “no.” A finite and limited little person trying to excise his will and take over the whole operation is an interesting concept.

My husband and I have better understanding at our disposal and we know what’s best for our son. We know he needs food, rest, and clothes. Our son thinks it’s a good idea to wrest control out of our fingertips, just like we try to do to God. Yet, God has an elevated view of our lives in light of all earthly and eternal history. Isn’t he qualified for the job?

We try to hold him hostage as we make our heist. We think there is freedom outside the boundary lines, but don’t realize freedom is found inside. It’s better to surrender to a traffic ticket than risk jail time, and it’s better to obey a traffic light than risk a deadly car crash. The Lord’s discipline and instruction is meant for our safety and protection; he knows without them we would be in bondage, or worse, dead. The good news is that God is always the one in control, we just deceive ourselves by thinking we control our little world.

3.) I Filter Life Through My Needs and Desires

My son is very big compared to his little world. So, his needs and desires come in high demand. He doesn’t stop and think how his actions and attitudes affect our home, he just surfs the waves of his current mood. His mind hasn’t learned to venture out into the world of others, because he is so preoccupied with his own.

This is a tough one for me, because my main occupation right now consists of round the clock service. I have to constantly place myself outside of my little world to sympathize with and meet the needs and desires of others. It’s hard to serve others in joy when I am consumed with myself. The time I get to fulfill my desires is always easier to enjoy.

I am like a child in many ways and God knows this. He knows I am finite and limited, I feebly try to control my own life, and I have a hard time thinking less about myself. Yet, knowing I am like a child is exactly what leads me to the possession of eternal life. Jesus has told us if we want to have eternal life we must have faith like a small child (Matthew 18:3.)

A child can have faith in a parent who loves them, guides them, and nurtures them. The source and object of our faith is secure and trustworthy. Once I humble myself as a small child I can rest in my savior’s lap, because he too once humbled himself in childish form.

The One Parenting Tip we all Need

My Facebook feed has articles of top ten lists, methods, and practices of parents I’ve never met before. These methods and practices can be helpful, but as a parent I’ve realized there is one bottom line: I’m a sinner in need of grace.

It seems God invented parenthood to show us how much we are sinners in need of grace. All parents have this in common. This is where comparisons stop and the playing field is leveled.

How I’m Like a Two Year Old

Recently, the Lord reminded me of this simple truth as my sin was laid bare in front of a 2 1/2 year old. My husband and I have been attempting to train our toddler son to not throw fits when he doesn’t get what he wants. We have been telling him it is anger. In the midst of dealing with my son’s anger on an almost daily basis the Lord has made this a training tool for me as well.

You see, I’m angry too. I might not show it the same way as my son by hitting, screaming, and throwing, but my heart is angry. I’m angry about dealing with a tantruming toddler. I’m feeling worn down and discontent.

During one of these angry fits my son was throwing around plastic Easter eggs, because I needed to check on something cooking in the kitchen. In turn, I got angry and impatient. In that moment I saw myself as a reflection of my son. We’re in the same boat here; sinners in need of God’s grace. So, I gathered my son into my arms and hugged him.

I told him, “Mommy gets angry too and I’m sorry. You know who can help us not be angry? Jesus.”

My son told me he was sorry. Then I told him I loved him and we needed to love like Jesus loves us.

When I am Weak He is Strong

I’m seeing how weak I really am, but confident that His strength is made perfect in weakness. I can run to my Father and ask for help to love like him. My heavenly Father does not grow weary of me, and when I sin he is not impatient or unloving; because of Christ he loves me and does not deal with me in anger. But I never love as perfectly as he loves me. Yet, He will answer when I call. He knows I need more than the love of a mother. I need the love of Christ.

The love of Christ absorbs sin and returns love. He loves unconditionally. He is the Great Shepard who lays down his life for the flock. He does this regardless of how we behave. His love does not change, because He does not change. When I throw tantrums His love embraces me and says, “I know you’re a sinner in need of grace.”