Last Saturday, February 28, marked 25 years since Joe came and then, almost as quickly, left us. But in so many good ways he has never left. Even though he came and left physically, his little short life continues as a demonstration in my life and others of God’s faithfulness over these 25 years. And then there are these two sweet gifts…
My daughters, Nina and Emma.
I meet weekly with a group of Christian women. Most of them are ten or more years older than myself (I am 51) and a couple of them are young mothers with children still under school age. It’s a great mix of ages and stages and experiences and wisdom and frustrations and struggles.
Last week we talked about mentoring. Specifically, the importance of mentoring other younger women in Christ but also, for most of us, a very critical mentoring relationship: Mentoring our own children in Christ. We related this to Elisabeth, mother of John the Baptist, Mary’s cousin, the mother of Christ, and the important mentoring role she played while waiting to be a mother to John herself and then when Mary, with child, came to live with Elizabeth and Zechariah.
And it occurred to me that I had not viewed the raising of my daughters with an intentional mentorship in mind from the beginning. With our children, it’s not like the typical mentor/mentee relationship. There isn’t that usual feedback from the beginning.
I’m a normal mom and we are a normal family. To be sure, my kids saw me at my worst at times, I’m sad to say. It would be safe to say that anyone I would mentor, I would never DREAM of subjecting them to my screaming rants and tirades!
I would lose my patience…
I would raise my voice…
I would not always guard my tongue…
Sometimes I wouldn’t say anything when I knew I should… That’s almost worse!
I could have prayed with them more…
I should have read and explained more Bible stories to them…
And as my younger (and very wise) sister pointed out to me when we were talking about this the other day, I also had to apologize to them for how I acted or what I said and ask them to forgive me…many, many times!
The list is endless and the guilt keeps heaping up!
Fortunately God is bigger than even my best parenting day and my best attempts at walking out my faith in front of my children!
I suppose, if you’re a parent, your list looks (or looked at one time) very similar to mine. Our stories are the much the same. We can all suffer from short sightedness. The days are filled with mundane daily things and sprinkled in, as the years roll on, are occasions we want to savor with our kids.
Here is the importance of my message for young Christian parents: Don’t overlook the drudgery of the ordinary day. All those days put together—that is your child’s childhood. Use those years to the fullest to mentor their faith, to help nurture their curiosity of who God is, and to want to seek and know him.
Don’t miss any opportunity.
But for me…
Now it really does feel like all those years happened in a flash. It stuns me sometimes. I almost can’t believe it.
So it’s on to the next step. The things God has for me. What else am I here to do? How else can I be used? It’s in motion and I’m ready and I’m listening…and I’m still learning who God is because that’s the only way I understand who I am.
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
I Timothy 1:15