It had been a long, frustrating morning with a child who was displaying a very poor attitude. I tried desperately hard to stay patient, but after yet another round of struggling with her disobedience, sharp words flew from my mouth.
Her next sentence came in a hushed whisper, “I know that you don’t love me.”
I bit back an angry retort and instead silently pleaded to God in prayer. Please help me to be the mother she needs. Help me to see her the way you do. God please, I need you!
I knew my child was right – I was not acting lovingly towards her in that moment.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love… does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NKJV)
The precious soul I had held so tenderly as an infant – feeling certain at the time that I would always love her perfectly as I adoringly counted her tiny fingers and toes – she was trembling with sorrow and it was my fault.
Years of good – the baking sessions, messy science experiments, book reading, bike riding, park visits, and bedtime snuggles – all of it completely melted away in my mind as I felt myself drowning in guilt over my sharp outburst towards my precious daughter.
And you know what? I’m not alone.
At some point, almost every parent has been wracked with guilt over at least one parenting situation. Whether you’re the one who occasionally speaks too sharply to your children or the parent who tends to be too permissive just to keep the kids happy, there are probably times when you’ve felt like a complete failure.
That’s just where Satan wants you. He wants you to lash out, or to allow your kids to rule the house, and he wants you to feel terrible for it… so terrible that you consider giving up and sending your children to government-run schools, thinking that maybe someone else can do a better job with them.
But God, the giver of life, the redeemer of sins… He knows where you can improve but He also knows you’re doing your best. He’s the one who hand-picked you to be the parent of your children and nobody else can do that job better than you can.
And when we sin, either by speaking harshly in anger, or by letting our children get away with poor behavior, we need to go to them and seek their forgiveness. They need to see that we’re humans with flaws just like they are. This is an opportunity for us to take our children to the foot of the cross – and there’s no better place on earth we go together.
But far too often, we don’t do that because we believe Satan’s lie that we’re not good enough and that we can’t possibly do any better. So instead of letting God redeem our bad moments, we drown in guilt over our perceived shortcomings. But He knew before you started that you wouldn’t be a perfect parent or teacher and He loves you anyways, exactly how you are. This stuff you’re doing, raising your family, teaching your kids? Yes, it’s imperfect, but it’s important and you’re enough.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)