Do you ever get tired of being the driver in your home? Y’know–driving the homework. The dishes from their hands to the dishwasher. The manners and respect. The time with God. The self-control in conflicts. The propriety in dating.
I need to admit: I get tired of the lack of my kids’ ownership in the values my husband and I care about–whether it’s peace, or order, or worship, or personal responsibility. And as my kids get older, in some ways, my control diminishes.
I’ve written lists and lists lately on fun ideas for spiritual disciplines for real families–fasting, prayer, hospitality, serving. And truthfully, the ways we can set our kids up for the “catch”–receiving God’s work in their lives–are far beyond what we could ever list.
But as many great ideas as I can cook up, or as many Pinterest searches as we can do or blogs we can read–there’s a reality that sometimes I can feel either (wrongly) crippled or (rightly) liberated by: Ultimately, it’s only God who awakens the Holy Spirit in our kids’ lives. (Or our own.)
Because there’s this finely tuned tension in motherhood, right? It lies somewhere between us doing all we can to create godly habits in our kids. Dorothy Day once said, “We have to create an environment where it is easier to be good.” And not just good–but walking-with-the-Spirit, from-the-inside-out good.
And yet–when I push too hard, I tend to push them away. To exasperate my kids, as Paul puts it (Ephesians 6:4), particularly the independent ones. (As I heard recently: rules + no relationship = rebellion.) Yes, I gain more ability to speak into their lives when I’m building into our relationship constantly. But even then, I’m cautious of pushing them into rebellion within the cloud of my terrific intentions.
On many of the Wednesdays of 2017, I’ll be helping my friend Barbara Rainey, on everthinehome.com, explore what she calls “prayer lessons”: ideas to pray for ourselves, our most critical relationships, our communities. In today’s post, I’m–well, revisiting truths I needed to hear about what I can do–and what only He can.
I hope it encourages you today, wherever this finds you.