I’ve been at home with my babies on Christmas break the past two weeks. A magical time you might think. But we caught a nasty bug. So I’ve felt more trapped than able to enjoy a magical Christmas. In the past week I’ve been out of the house for a grand total of one hour. One. Out of 168 hours, 167 of them have been inside the four walls of my house. Don’t get me wrong, I love my people. Love ’em. But wow is mommy ready to get out of the house!
In these many hours at home, I’ve had lots of time for reflection. The end of the year always brings a certain reflective spirit anyways, and with lots of time to be with and therefore think about my children, I’ve been evaluating my relationship with them.
I feel like the majority of my day is spent saying “no” or “don’t do that.” Negatives are always coming out of my mouth. I don’t like that. While correction is of course necessary, I don’t like to feel like my words are constantly tearing down my children, a pile of negativity resting on their little heads, filling their little minds. I want to be the lifter of their heads, the one who builds their self image, the one who calls forth in them what God has created them to be. So my prayer for 2017 has become “Lord, help my children to become all that you have created them to be, and help me to call that forth in them.”
Correction will still be needed. God has given me authority to raise my children, and he has called me to train them in the way they should go. “No” will always be a necessary word. But my heart towards my children won’t be just to control their behavior or only to stop their maddening habits. (Two year olds have many of these!) In Ephesians 4, Paul writes about our maturing process, which includes “speaking the truth in love.” This is the reflection I want my correction to be to my children, the truth spoken in love. I’ve already failed at this, countless times, but that doesn’t mean that my heart has lost sight of this goal. And sometimes the truth needs to pack a verbal punch! Whether spoken in calm or in passion, I want my words to my children to call out what God has created in them. I’m their mother; if I don’t call this out in them now, who will? This certainly isn’t what the world will call out in them. As they grow and enter the world more and more, I want them to be “rooted and established in love,” in the certainty of who they are in Christ. If I want them to be compassionate, they need to see compassion at home. If I want them to be respectful, they need to be taught what that looks like. If I want them to know Jesus, they need to see him in my life.