Face it, we all want to “put our best foot forward” whether meeting someone for the first time, on Sundays mornings at church and of course, on social media like Facebook.
But, the fact is, our lives are far from perfect because we are not perfect and neither are our children. This can especially be a struggle for parents when we see that “everybody” else is posting pictures of their honor students with their amazing school projects, or see them proudly posing with their swim and track medals, or the plethora of adorable videos of the little ones reciting Awana verses or singing. (I think this can especially difficult if you are a determinist parent with a defiant child.)
I have said all of that to let you know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The photo below is our kitchen table and yes, those are dirty, size 4 boot prints all over the top of it. Yeah, that’s right…
The fact is, we cannot make our children be obedient. After all, they sin just like we do and it is important to remember that ultimately, their sin is against God, not us.The fact is, we cannot make our children be obedient.Click To Tweet
It is equally important to realize that we cannot save our children; salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9) Our son is self-admittedly not a Christian. He is hard-hearted (Ezekiel 36:26), and God in His goodness, has not led our son to repentance (Romans 2:4). Even though we have family devotions in the Word (almost) every morning and his first homeschool assignment of everyday is to write five verses from the Book of Proverbs and to read a chapter in the Book of Psalms and is constantly being taught and raised from a Biblical perspective, he is not saved and is very rebellious. It is certainly proof that even though “faith comes by hearing; and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17), that God is the only One that can give him the ears to hear (Proverbs 20:12; Matthew 13:16) and according to His will, He has ordained that our son’s heart is dull and his ears are heavy (Isaiah 6:10).
But, we must never become discouraged or lose heart because this is the ministry, the mission field, that the Lord has given us (2 Corinthians 4:1). Sometimes it becomes tiresome to do as the Lord has commanded, and impress His words on our children’s hearts as we sit on our sofas, or ride in our minivans on the way to soccer practice or late at night when we tuck them in (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19). But we cannot “become weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9) and there is no greater good that we can do than to share the Good News of the Gospel (Mark 1:1) with our children.
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The Lord tells us in His Word that we must “train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). However, that may not seem very comforting when we would like our children to be obedient RIGHT NOW. But, these are the times we should be most reminded of God’s mercy and grace towards us because God demonstrated “His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). OUCH, huh?
One of the verses I am reminded of in times like these is found in Proverbs 11:16, “A gracious woman attains honor.” Grace is not extended in times of obedience, but in times of disobedience. As upset as I may be with our son for his disobedience, my love and fear of the Lord must be even greater; and for that, the Word says that my children will rise up and call me blessed and I will be praised by my husband (Proverbs 31: 28, 30).Grace is not extended in times of obedience, but in times of disobedience. Click To Tweet
I am blessed that my husband, Brandon, often tells me that he loves, appreciates and is thankful to the Lord for me. He knows how difficult it can be in my role as wife, mother and homeschooler and encourages me to continue in that work. Although our son may not “rise up and call me blessed,” he does have his moments of showing me love and gratitude.
But, for those of you whose spouse is not praising or encouraging you; or it seems as if your children do not appreciate what you do for them: remember, we must not love the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43). So, keep up the good work, mom and dad; and don’t feel like you need to be perfect because this is REAL LIFE and sometimes it is covered in dirt!
About the Author, Mary Jean Whitney Renfro: My name is MJ. I am a Christian wife, mother and country girl. My life is everything God has planned and it is beautiful, but sometimes messy. Come join me and my family on our adventures and misadventures on this journey called life! Every season has its changes, some welcome and others, well, not so much. But, I have learned to flourish and rejoice in all of them and hope you will leave my blog feeling refreshed and more equipped to cope with whatever season you are in your life.
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