I have effusive praise for Priscilla Shirer's The Resolution for Women. I have mentioned this book several times as I have been working through it with a group of women, but God continues to use each chapter to sear straight into my heart with honesty, grace and a challenge to be intentional about the woman I know it is His Will for me to be.
This week's section on motherhood really resonated with my heart & soul. I starred, underlined and um-hmmed myself through page after page, but these this quote has been stirring in me for a couple of days:
"I haven't done it (parenting) perfectly; but I have done it purposefully." -Priscilla Shirer
Oh, how this is the cry of my heart. I love encouragement, but I often cringe when people compliment me as a parent. I feel so hypocritical accepting praise because I know my countless missteps, sour heart attitudes, sharply spoken words and impatient spirit. There are days when my children want me and I just want everyone to go do their thing and leave me to a comfy chair and a book. I know the truth about my heart and actions and that despite how very much I love these children, I love myself more sometimes.
I am definitely NOT perfect...but purposeful? I can claim that word.
Purposeful is an aspiration that I can pray for with much more sincerity that perfection.
Purposeful is a goal I can aim for as I ask God to redeem the moments my flesh has fumbled.
Purposeful enables me to find teachable moments, even when it means humility and apologies from Mom.
As I have been praying through this I have been asking myself, what is my PURPOSE in being a Mom? Why did I want to have babies? What was the point of this process? Was it to play house and/or dress up? Was is to fill a void in my life? Was it to check a box of what grown ups do after a few years of marriage? Truthfully, there were likely small parts of each of those motivations.
What was God's purpose in giving me children? Certainly my sanctification was a huge part of it...but what is my responsibility to these children? God knows I am a sinner, saved only by his amazing grace...so certainly He cannot expect perfection. But, purpose? I feel certain He expects me to be a good steward of the hearts He has entrusted to my care.
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NIV
If I were perfect, I would become an idol in the way of their recognition of their need for God. But if I aim to be purposeful instead, I will intentionally train and shepherd children. My purpose is to raise them up in the knowledge of His love for them and His plans for them...not my plans, but His.
It is such a tall order. One that I could never accomplish on my own. Great relief comes from laying down my need to 'carry' this load and acknowledging Him as the leader, source, guide and strength for the task.
May it be said of me, "She is not a perfect parent; she's just a woman that believes her parenting is kingdom business." -Priscilla Shirer