I had done everything “right.” I hadn’t gotten angry. I had kept a measured tone. I talked to my boys about Jesus and his love for them. I hadn’t given in to the desire to wield my authority and to force them to lie and utter words they didn’t mean.
And yet, here we were. Seemingly, the same outcome as always.
They were still unresponsive to my encouragement to make peace. The harmony in our home was disturbed. We were going on a good half a day of a seething undercurrent of unreconciled conflict. I was done. I was giving into the despair that permeated the atmosphere. I felt hopeless and anger was starting to creep in. “Why wasn’t this working? Why were they so unreachable? Why can’t everyone just get along?”
As I sat on my back patio playing the situation over and over again in mind, wondering what I could have done differently, the words of Psalm 42:5 echoed in my heart,
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall praise him again, my salvation and my God.”
My soul was indeed downcast, and my hope was misplaced. I was hoping in myself. In my capability to parent the “gospel way.” I was hoping in my ability to change my boys’ hearts.
Let me stop right here and say that it is important to parent in a way that we think is biblical, but my heart tends to place my hope in my parenting instead of waiting on and trusting in God, my salvation.
My hopelessness in the situation at hand stemmed from seeing that I couldn’t change hearts, and while theoretically I know that to be true, functionally I live like I have the power of the Holy Spirit to change soften hearts and change minds. I wasn’t broken-hearted over my boy’s sin, I was discouraged that my methods weren’t working. My thought process went something like this “I am doing this right. Why aren’t they responding right?”
Our hope is not in our parenting style, or our food choices, or our consistency, or our educational choices.
Our hope is in Christ alone, the one who lived hoping in God perfectly in our place, and died for every single time we place our hope in anything but God. Our hope is in God our salvation, our rock, our redeemer. Our hope is in the Holy Spirit the one who enlivens dark minds, the one who turns hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
Moms, we don’t have the ability to change our children’s hearts. There is no amount of “doing in right” that can bring a child to Christ. That is His work, not yours, so trust Him.
Parent the way you believe is right, seek to point your children to Christ, show them the dangers of an unrepentant life, but then rest and trust. Rest and trust that God’s plan for your family is better than your plan. Rest and trust that He will change hearts in exactly the right time. Rest and trust that He in fact does see and know everything that happens in your home. Hope in God. Praise Him. He is your God and your salvation.
- Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
- Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Hubbard
- Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God by Gloria Furman