This last week, I had one of those “clarity” moments.
I had an encounter with a young man, and for some reason, he reminded me so much of my oldest son. It was like hitting a fast-forward button, and seeing my son twenty years from now.
And in that moment, I was reminded once again that my son is not going to be a little boy forever, and that one day he is going to grow up into a young man. Someday, he will be an adult, out in the world, responsible for his own choices and actions.
Now, as many of you have read in my previous blogs, I was a teen mom. And one thing I heard a lot of when I first found out I was pregnant, something that I know many young moms have been told, is that it would be exceptionally hard to raise a child properly when you are still just a child yourself.
And in some sense, those people were right. But somewhere along the way, I decided that wasn’t going to be our story.
You see, I have been reminded by the Holy Spirit many times that raising children is about so much more than teaching them manners and helping them get good grades. It’s about so much more than what sports they succeed at, whether they get invited to the best birthdays, or what college they get into (if any at all).
God has been faithful to show me that there’s much more at stake for our kiddos than that. While those are all good things, they are not the most important things.
In this season of mothering, I have to remember that when I look at my three little boys, I am looking into the faces of future men. Men who have the potential to be husbands and fathers. Men who God can (and hopefully will) use for mighty things.
To be completely honest, there have been times that I have grieved deeply that we haven’t been stewarded any daughters to raise. I think about how much joy I would have experienced, from the first pink bows to the preteen years and modesty talks, all the way through to wedding days and births of grandchildren, and I have wept a bit thinking that I won’t walk that road.
But for the most part, I rejoice that I have been gifted three young men to raise for the Lord! In a world where biblical manhood is beaten down and men are mocked, belittled, and criticized, somehow God saw me fit to mother three of His own. And while the responsibility of that feels weighty, I could not feel more blessed that God chose me to be their momma.
I long for my boys to grow into valiant men of God. For them to stand upon God’s Word and to bring it to others as a saving hope. For them to trust their whole lives to our Savior Jesus, and to encourage others to do the same. And hear me clearly, I know that this is not my sole responsibility. But in God’s strength, I hope that I can equip them with what I have to offer, and that they may see God at work in my own life, while lived so imperfectly before Him.
I encourage you, mommas, whether you are raising daughters or sons, to remember that eternal perspective in your parenting. While it is good and right to prepare our kids for work here on this earth, it is far more important to prepare them for Kingdom work. For them to be equipped, discipled, loved on, and given grace to as the situation fits. And ultimately, may they see their imperfect mommas at the feet of Jesus, asking for His grace and mercy, and praising Him for them and the gifts that their sweet selves are to us, even when we don’t feel it.
While I trust God’s will completely, I long to see my boys grow into husbands and fathers. I pray that they will grow to love God deeply, love their wives fiercely, and love their children with a tender, lion-hearted love that prepares them for a life walked with Jesus as well. I pray for a legacy of faith, not because of what my husband and I have done, but because of what God has done.
Keep walking the narrow way. Introduce your children to the Word. Talk about the hard things. Speak God’s name and speak it often. Respond in grace and teach with patience. Apologize when you are wrong, and encourage them to forgive and seek the forgiveness of others. Be their safe place to ask the tough questions. Don’t grow weary of doing the good, hard things, each and every day. (Galatians 6:9) It is not in vain.
Keep up that hard work, mommas. God’s promises tell me that it is completely worth it.