Have you ever had a moment when you are in the midst of disciplining your child and you realize that their behavior might be due to your failure?
A couple weeks ago that happened to me. I was in the middle of explaining why a certain decision wasn’t a good one to my child. And it wasn’t. And I’m not saying that his choices are my fault, because bottom line is he is the one to suffer the consequences. But as we sat there, I was praying silently, asking God to give me wisdom. “Lord, please show me what I need to know. Help me to understand what he is feeling.”
Then a question popped into my head, and I asked my son the question. God knew exactly what I needed to ask. And that one question opened the lines of communication between us in ways I never imagined possible. What he was feeling, the issues he was facing came pouring out as he began to share with me.
“How did I miss the boat like this,” I thought. How did I not see that he was hurting and the way I was handling things was not what he needed. I thought I was attentive and available. I thought we talked. But there was an issue of the heart at hand. And it involved not just his heart but mine!
The most important thing to me is to love well. The way Christ does. To say my heart felt broken is a huge understatement. No matter what else happens on this earth, I want my children to know I am here for them and I love them unconditionally. But I am an imperfect person and as much as I never want to fail them, I do.
There are so many things that demand my attention. Work, finances, household chores, car issues, pets, illnesses, car accidents, aging parents. And it is all vying for my time. If there is a problem it’s up to me to take care of it, because I am a single mom. And despite my relationship with Christ and a loving extended family and good friends, I mess up. I get caught up in “fixin”.
Fixin is a Texas term. We say things like, “I am fixin’ dinner, and I’m fixin’ to go to the store and I’m just plain ole fixin too. Fixin…fixin…fixin. But God doesn’t tell me to run around fixin things.
Psalm 103:8,11, 12 it says, The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love…For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
God’s love is based on His character. He is merciful and withholds the judgement we so deserve. He will never withdraw His love from us. Yes he gets angry when we sin. Just like we do when our children sin. But He lets go of it when He forgives us. And he forgets the sin. Because he forgets our sin, He can relate to us in love.
How beautiful is that? As he forgives me so I forgive my child. And when I mess up and let my children down I shouldn’t run around “fixin” anything. I should humbly in love ask for their forgiveness and reassure them of my love.
Does that mean there are not consequences? Of course not. But there is understanding and forgiveness and restoration.
Because as it says in Isaiah 40:30-31, Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall: but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
My hope needs to be in Christ and not in myself or my abilities to fix. He is the RESTORER of my soul. So when I stumble, fall and fail and when my children stumble, fall and fail, we can renew our strength by asking for forgiveness; and then hoping, trusting and enduring in Christ.