January 31, 2014

Mothering Memories and my debt to grace

It’s happening, at last!

The long overdue photo album is getting worked on!  I had intended it as a gift when my firstborn graduated from high school…then thought maybe I would get it done by the time he got married…or at least by the time his firstborn came along? 

Well,  eleven years have passed since that first goal vanished from sight.  And now there are four little likenesses of my son under his roof.  It is time for this album to make its way into their hands, for them to see their daddy when he was their ages…

At 3 months...Micah 1


At 18 months…

Micah 2


At 3 years…

Micah 3


And at 4 1/2 years…

Micah 4

He was once a child and he has grown to be a man with children of his own.  I am reliving this week many mothering memories. Both precious and a little painful.

I was once a young imperfect mom intent on raising perfect children while largely in denial of my own imperfections.  I cringe now at the values I once clung to. 

Being perfect seemed more valuable than experiencing forgiveness. 

Being ‘good’ seemed a rational goal.  But now I wonder, is it so much  about being ‘good’, or about  knowing you are not so very good, but you are cherished just as you are?

Too often I sacrificed relationship in the pursuit of performance.

I aimed at perfection instead of recognizing we are and ever will be imperfect and indebted to Grace. 

It is a wise mom who realizes the parameters of her calling.  Some objectives are beyond our control—for instance, the objective of producing  godly children.  That is our desire but is it our calling? If your brow is furrowing at this moment consider reading this article by an empty nester mom I have not met named Gina Smith. 

“I Was Never Called to Raise “Godly Children!”

Her point is that godliness is not a goal we can accomplish by any amount of good parenting, character training, discipline or a dozen other routes. We are dependent on God’s grace to intervene and change hearts.  We might make them behave; we might enforce rules but we can’t create godly children.  Only God can do that.

As I brood over pictures and journal entries written years ago on the front lines of a busy household, I wonder, was I  wanting to rear Pharisees or Publicans?  The Pharisee could stand and thank God he was not a common sinner; he was ‘good’.  I bet his kids knew how to sit still in church too!   But it was the Publican whom God heard.  He knew himself to be an unworthy sinner and cried, “God, be merciful to me a sinner”. He was the one who went back home forgiven. (Luke 18:9ff)

Did I  want my kids to comprehend grace or be good enough not to need it?

Unintentionally we may produce ‘good’ kids with proud hearts instead of pointing them to God’s goodness so they can be forever humbled and forgiven people.

Do we strive to build character at the expense of laying the foundational understanding that our goodness is filthy rags apart from the Spirit’s transformation of our hearts and motives?

I am now an old imperfect mom--a converted Pharisee,  recognizing more and more my actual indebtedness to God’s grace. I am grateful for a long-suffering God who doesn’t strike the Pharisee dead for his presumption.  And as I stick down pictures of this lad with the perpetual grin and endless energy, I’m grateful for the strong Redeemer we both have found.  The Lord of Hosts is His name. (Jer.50:34)  He is not bound by our mistakes.  He is not limited by our weakness.  And His Redemption rolls on down through the years exchanging our messes for His grace.  Yes, this is what I want this photo album to celebrate.  God has been good to us, for He is good. 

And with these loosely outlined thoughts I must conclude for now.  For you see, this album is not quite finished and tomorrow we leave to bear it to little eyes who will wonder that their hero could once have been as young as they… So for today, this album is my calling as a Grandmom!

I welcome your feedback always. 


“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts….And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” (Zech.4:6,7)

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Ps.127:1-3 ESV

“We have had earthly fathers who disciplined us…for a short time as it seemed best to them*, but [the Father of spirits] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.”   Heb.12:9,10

*There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Prov. 14:12 ESV


P.S. If you come from my era you may appreciate this upbeat reminder that “Nobody’s perfect except for the Lord” , as only Keith Green can say it!

1 comment:

A Daughter of the King said...

I'm thankful that our mistakes and misunderstandings can be used to bless others behind us on the path of life. Thank you, Father, for your Grace! Praise you, God, for continuing to bless Linda's beautiful heart with insights to share.