All week long on social media I have seen pictures of kiddos heading back to school around the country. All ages and stages as parents are sending preschoolers through college age (and some of us now have children who are TEACHERS going back to school!) with their back packs and dorm rooms and such.
This morning our family text thread came through with our two little guys laden with first day of school supplies and headed off and I have to say they look quite ready though the picture seemed a little blurry but that may have been from some watery matter in my own eyes as I zoomed in on their faces.
It is human nature to reminisce back to our time sending little ones off and this memory has been popping in my head so will share.
Somewhere in Rachel’s first foray into the halls of education, I had the habit when I picked her up of asking her if she had a good day.
Her answer was rarely a resounding yes.
Mostly it had just been ok and sometimes it was not good at all.
I would listen to whatever stories she felt like telling, which were scant on details and never as fully fleshed out as I would have loved to hear so I could analyze and counsel and all the things annoying moms like me tend to do.
The next morning I would send her off with “I hope you have a good day!” and I would pray for God to bless her with a good day but at pickup time, it was usually just ok.
This went on for a long enough period of time that I began to ask God why oh why could this little one not have a good day most days, and He answered my question with a question which I notice He seems to take great pleasure in doing.
As I queried Him on this subject, I felt the response was…”Did YOU have a good day, Laura?”
Well..I said…it was ok.
Yes…because most of my days were a mixed bag.
Great moments, good moments, hard moments, frustrating moments, downright awful moments all blended in between a whole lot of just ordinary moments.
And when I averaged it out at the end of the day it was … ok.
So as I sat pondering this perspective, I felt the nudge that perhaps instead of praying for her to have a “good” day every day, I pray for the ways God might meet her in the various moments and that He would strengthen her in the tough ones and teach her in the awkward ones and protect her in the bad ones..etc etc.
I also realized that I was letting her experiences define my success.
I had begun to equate my sole purpose as raising a child who had nothing but good days. I thought about how much pressure I seemed to putting on her because I felt like I had failed if she was not happy.
As if my whole purpose and existence depended on the happiness of our children.
That’s a lot of pressure on another human being, right?
As I have had the opportunity to go through Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods” study for the second time this summer (did it the first time in 2016), I see that this is one of my areas of struggle that will probably never completely go away.
It is the place where I am prone to set up an idol, and thus a place I have to be vigilant to clean house on a regular basis.
I am so thankful for the painful process God works me through every time I take the right and godly gift of being a mom to three people and turn it into the basis for my existence and give it place in my heart that is only meant for God.
I love them with a fierce love, but they are not MINE.
They are the children the Lord has blessed Russ and I to bear and to raise and to encourage and support…but their lives belong to the One who gave them to us to parent…not to own, worship or place our identity in.
Each of us struggles with different temptations to make good things our gods.
It is worthwhile to ask God to reveal them to us and then to cooperate in the painful process of putting them in right perspective and priority.