It doesn't seem like it was very long ago at all that I sat outside on our bench in the shade with a notebook writing my feelings about how I was failing as a Mom. I was homeschooling and putting so much pressure on myself to be someone that doesn't exist in real life. I'd had a particularly trying day and I remember writing, "I just need a giant F plastered on my forehead because that is what I am - a F-A-I-L-U-R-E." I wanted so desperately to raise children who loved the Lord and lived their lives for Him. I wanted them to know how to learn and I wanted them to be able to think through things instead of simply believing whatever was told them. I wanted them to have compassion and care toward others, but instead I saw a bunch of kids being - well…kids. I doubted that I was able to complete the task before me. I doubted that they would ever be all that I hoped they would be, because I just knew I was failing as a mom. The good news is that it drove me to my knees in prayer.
Since then, we have been through so many things that I never would have written into our lives. We have been through things that have taken us to our limits and then some but in all of it we clung onto the only constant we knew - Jesus. I remember at one time telling Him that I wasn't going to trust Him anymore because I just felt that He had let us down on some things. It was kind of like he crossed His arms and leaned back with a grin as He said, Ok, then, who or what are you going to trust? I started trying to name things or people but realized that every one of them had let me down in some way. Finally, I had to admit that there was no other thing I could put my trust in. Even when I felt God had let me down, looking back I knew He had really done what was best despite what my thoughts were on the issue.
Today it is with great joy that I have the privilege of sending those same kids who had me believing I was a failure out to Wyandotte to serve the community, pray for people and show kids God's love. I get to send them to Mexico City where they will love the unlovable with God's love and serve them with hearts that understand. Despite my doubts and failures, God is working in the lives that I have spent so many years praying into. Funny thing though, I miss them like crazy and though I am thrilled beyond words at what God can do with failure, I am sad to know that it won't be long until they really do fly the nest. I will miss those long late nights discussing life or wrestling through emotions that are strong. I will miss being challenged in my own faith as I am questioned about things I never thought through. I will even miss those arguments with fists pounding the table as they wrestle through making their own faith real.
Now before some of you start feeling guilty or bad let me say really really loud that it isn't too late. Maybe you didn't do everything perfect, neither did I. Maybe you have prayed and it feels like they are not being answered, let me just say life is messy. Something Pastor Kevin used to always say, goes something like this: Birth is loud and painful and messy but it's life, funerals are quiet and orderly. Don't give up, keep praying even when it feels like they are going unanswered, especially then. If you think that you can wrestle your children out of the kingdom of darkness without a bloody fight you are wrong. We have to devote our lives to following after Christ and pray constantly for the lives of those we love. I just have such a strong sense of wanting to encourage you to not give up. Those who have been forgiven most will love the most. Isn't that what Jesus said about the sinful woman. None of us want our kids to go through things that hurt, it goes against our nature as parents but covered in prayer it will bring them out stronger and better able to conquer the enemy.
If you doubt that's ok. Pastor Scott pointed out some awesome things about doubt in his sermon Sunday that I never realized. I had always heard about having to have faith and if things didn't work out it's because you didn't have enough faith. But look at what Matthew 28 says, "16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Despite their doubt Jesus gave them actions to follow and they changed the world. We cannot be good enough to do all things perfectly and God knows that. Jesus wasn't putting his faith in them to accomplish, He was putting it in His Father to accomplish through them despite their doubt.
Remember the man who's son had an evil spirit and Jesus asked him if he believed. The man answered, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Jesus knows we are weak and He loves to reach out to those who are reaching toward Him. Keep reaching for Him and if things don't go as you want at least you will have His comforting arms to hold you through it.
I still have 2 little ones that are being molded and I find myself doubting that I can do it well, especially since I am so stretched with working and having teens involved in so many things. I still have 5 teens to get through their teen years which can be awesome one second and awful the next, there are no guarantees that they will finish strong. I walk through my house and though I am thankful, I find myself doubting that I will ever be able to feel like it's nice. But I will not let it get me down. My God is bigger than my doubt and I will keep reaching toward Him for hope until Heaven when I will be perfect and never doubt again.
I have such a burden right now for those who read this and think that they have a giant F on their forehead. I pray that you would encourage their spirit and let them know in their heart of hearts that You haven’t given up and neither should they. Bring them someone to speak encouragement into their lives that will offer them hope to face today. Let the joy of the Lord be their strength as they face each challenge before them.
In Jesus name,