I heard a “mentor” speak to a group of Type-A moms recently. She made this statement, “I only started talking to moms about parenting after my children were grown and I knew that had not failed.”
While I respect her waiting to impart wisdom until her children were grown. I have a problem with her last phrase. By saying, she “had not failed” she communicated to a room full of “try-hard” moms that they “could” fail.
I believe God has given us a responsibility to love our children well. To model grace, teach truth & train love. But I do not believe I can keep my children from failure.
I also don’t believe if they “fail” (whatever that means), they are beyond God’s ability to redeem and use them. What if a “train wreck with grace” is what my boys need to truly grasp God’s love?
Didn’t God’s perfect son look like a “failure” as He hung on the cross? But we would not have life eternally with God if Jesus had not taken on all the brokenness and failures.
This past weekend,Tricia Goyer, an author of 33 books, encouraged writers on how to balance life as a writer & mom: how to write God’s message, love your children, and enjoy your life. She has 3 grown beautiful godly children and one little girl she adopted. Yet her past includes an abortion when she was 15 years old. Her first son was born when she was 17 and the father left her.
Had her parents failed because of her teenage pregnancy? Was her life beyond God’s restoration and His ability to use her to minister to others?
Stacy Buck, a passionate, vibrant, woman of faith, has a history of drug use and rehab. Did her parents fail?
On her flight to Allume (Christian blogging conference) she sat next to a 17-year-old boy (apparently dressed like a gangster). She was hoping to meet some women heading to Allume, but God had different plans. Prompted by the Spirit & given her “failed” past, she asked the boy, “Do you like rap?” He responded, “Yah”. Stacy boldly said, “Well, I’m a rapper” (it’s true Stacy can throw down a mean little rap about her life…including her failed past).
Stacy (on the right) with Lara Williams (on the left) having a rap-off. Both ladies love God, words, & their fire-fighter husbands.
Right there on a plane she shared her broken story in a rap. Then he shared his. He had just come out of rehab and was going to live with his aunt. Because of her history and experience she was able to warn him to be on guard for more temptation.
You see after she came out of rehab her family moved to a new city to get a fresh start. The first time she went out of the house alone, “Leon” walked up to her asked, “Do you know where I can get high?”. In that moment of temptation she spiraled down again.
So she warned this smelly, 17-year-old, recovering drug addict to “watch out for Leons”. Advice which could save his life. Advice she would only be able to give because she had been a “failure”.
In her weakness and brokenness, God has lit a passion in her heart to do His work. Because God may allow hard things in our kids’ lives in order to capture their attention.
I have stood in my kitchen, with a burdened heart, and cried out to my husband, “I am ruining our children” or “I’ve failed.”
With full confidence and belief, I want to take hold of your shoulders stand right in front of you and declare: “You. will. not. fail.”
Because you are already a failure. If you weren’t you wouldn’t need Jesus. We are all failures. God has a lot of wayward children.
Of course the last thing we want to do as moms is “mess up” our children. We get one shot. There are no “do-overs”. But God can handle our inadequate parenting because He is the perfect parent.
This week don’t parent in fear of failure. Parent in love. Don’t feel you have to “fill” your children’s empty vessel. God has already equipped them with everything they need to glorify Him. Your job is to shape all the gifts and uniqueness of your child. Let Him do the rest because really they are His children, His failed children.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed (made right) you. I have summoned you by name. You are mine.” Isaiah 43:1