In the age of mommy bloggers (I am seriously trying not to be one of those, but here I am writing a “mommy blog post”), between the bleary-eyed middle of the night feedings and those middle of the day nappings, moms today can commiserate, celebrate, and simply relate to one another with a click of a mouse or a scroll down a screen. What are moms looking for? Perhaps understanding, empathy, advice, encouragement, humor, or maybe something else. The term “tribe” is en vogue right now, and I guess moms are a tribe of a sort, banning together, because if anyone gets raising kids in today’s culture, we do.
One recurring statement that’s been tweeted, instagrammed with chic hand lettering, blogged, or posted in some shape or fashion that I keep running into is this idea that moms know what is best for their kids. Whenever I read this, I get sort of startled, like “Um…I do?…I know what’s best just because they are my kids? Says who?”
Because truth is, if I were honest (and I am trying to be here), I don’t always know what is best for my kids. In fact, I don’t always know what is best for myself! How many times in my life has God re-routed me, corrected me, and challenged me? Left to myself I would not be anywhere close to where I am today geographically, emotionally, spiritually, and so on. So, if I don’t always know what is best for myself, how on earth can I assume that I always know what is best for my kids?
Let me sidestep here for a moment. Sure, God has given each of us moms the children He wants us to nurture, teach, and love. He has not given us other people’s kids, but these particular ones. They come to us as image-bearers, living persons, already loved because “He first loved [them].” And He loves us too and wants us to raise these kids- what a marvelous grace and privilege! God enables us to be moms to our children, but He does not turn over the rule of authority. They are His children first, and only He knows what is best all of the time.
And this is my point. We are not our children’s God. We are not sovereign. It is dangerous for us to assume that we know our kids so well- their hearts, desires, potential, giftings, etc. that we can almost graft the paths upon which they will walk. Yes, we are our children’s advocate but we don’t replace God in their lives.
What is required of us, moms, is humility. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” This instruction is for all of life, because God doesn’t compartmentalize us. We trust in Him with our whole heart with our health, with our relationships, with our finances, with our careers, and with our children. And He has the authority to re-route us along the way. We may have plans for our kids, but “the Lord determines the steps.” We don’t get to do that. And thank the Lord that we don’t! I think if my kids were left up to me they would be mini versions of all I thought I should be or could have been, like my own little projects of self-discovery. Um. Nope. God sees them so much more than that. He values them more than even we do! Hard to imagine, because I love my kids so incredibly much. It is just that God’s love is holy, and ours is imperfect. Yes, even us moms love our kids imperfectly.
So, do we really know what is best for our kids all of the time? I don’t think so. But I do believe that we get to learn what is best for them as we humble ourselves before our heavenly Father who always knows what is best for us all- moms and kids included.