Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Roots or Fruit?

Yesterday after Sunday School I was greeted in the hallway by our Children's Minister and the Third Grade Sunday School teacher. After a polite greeting I was met with the dreaded words, "We need to talk about (your child's name)."

We were ushered into a closed door conversation with one of our people about an incident that had occurred during the class. I don't mean to be a tease about details, but my kiddo's privacy trumps the curiosity of others. :) Suffice it to say, this child had exercised poor (immature) judgment and had made a comment that needed to be addressed.

As the story was recounted to my husband & me by these beautiful godly women I respect, my initial reaction was to be mortified. My face burned hot. How had my child's nine year old behavior reflected on my performance as a mother?

Because God is IN MY DISH right now about this part of my heart/character, the thoughts were wrangled under control long enough for me to get over myself and think about my child. I noted the shame, the remorse, and the impact this incident was having on my child's heart. So did the Sunday School teacher.

I really appreciated the forgiveness from the offended adult and the way my child was reminded again and again how loved they are--despite their behavior. It was a painfully beautiful conversation.

In the 24 hours since I have been really reflecting on the lesson I will take from the cringe-inducing experience. I think it is this: As they grow, I must be more concerned about growing deep and sturdy roots in my children than I am about the immature fruit they are sometimes producing in this season.

YES, fruit is important as they mature in their faith...but a flash of fruit from a tree that has shallow roots in a short term win. For the long haul of life, these little hearts and souls must be viewed with a long term vision.

I think I focus on behavior more than heart change because I see it as an outward indicator of inner growth. But if I am honest, many times I focus on it because it is what OTHER PEOPLE can see. I don't want to be embarrassed. I want it to look like I am a good Mama raising great kids.

As we all know outward appearances aren't everything. While personas can be appealing, they aren't what will keep our kids grounded in the inevitable storms of life. Longevity, stability and maturity will come from the strength and sustenance of deep roots.

Other people can't necessarily see that kind of progress, but the Lord can...and with His help, so can an invested, praying parent.

There is such a temptation to make our children trick ponies...I pray for the courage and strength to think much more long term than that.

Lord, help me focus on roots, then trust You for the fruit.

6 comments:

Jeannie said...

Jen,
For the record, you ARE a good mama raising great kids! Don't ever doubt that! I think a lot of us moms struggle with the judgments of others upon us because of the choices our kids make (both good and bad). Even though I don't know you except through your writings here, I can tell you have a genuine heart for the Lord and long to see Him working in your kiddos' lives. THAT is a good mama raising great kids!

JMom said...

Thank you for your sweet words. ❤️️

Love Being A Nonny said...

Just to have the DESIRE to work on the root sets you apart. Your three will bear fruit. They have a mom who cares deeply and loves even deeper. The power of a praying mom is amazing. The Lord knows your heart. And I think He LIKES what He sees!

Shelley Watson said...

Thank you so much for sharing, I needed to read that. I am working on caring less about what others think about my mothering, and more about how I can be a positive role model to my two sons. I am slowly learning that it is not all about me....

Denise Ross said...

It is difficult to turn off the switch to how the world sees and judges us as parents through our children's actions both good and bad, I struggle with this too, but having one child reach adulthood has opened my eyes that life passes so quickly and it's more important to raise them right, than to focus on others perceived reactions. God approves of you as a mother and loves you too. He is more concerned with your heart, motivation and intentions than what the external represents. He who began a good work in you will He not finish it? You're doing a great job as a mamma and wife, if you weren't, you wouldn't be so concerned about the stuff that really matters. Hang in there Hod is with you and His grace is suffient for you

Denise Ross said...

Sorry I meant God is with you