by Megan Johnson
I can’t save my kids.
I can’t change their hearts.
This, at first, strikes fear in me … but then, relief. As it settles down and I think upon the promises of God, my sin nature, my limits, and his omnipotence; I remember that I cannot produce lasting change. But, I know the One who can. And I carry my children to Him in prayer and in conversation, day by day. I can’t change their hearts; which is a relief, because honestly, if it were all up to me, I would either become too all important or I would sink into a pit of despair. And probably both within the same hour.
But what I can do is sow generously.
In Mark 4:26-27 Jesus says that the farmer works hard scattering seed on the ground, and as he sleeps and rises night and day, the seed sprouts and grows, and he knows not how. But when the harvest comes, he is ready then too. He works, he waits, he trusts.
I can sow in prayer. I can sow in discipline and consistency. I can sow in laughter, and giggles, and fun messes. I can sow in scripture and catechism memory. I can sow in one more hug and kiss at bedtime. I can sow in repenting often to them, in front of them, and to my husband. I can sow in receiving new morning mercies for each day for these kids God has given me.
The Accuser of the Brethren will accuse me. He will remind me how I didn’t read an extra story last night; and induce guilt. He will remind me that I’m just not enough for my kids – not doing enough, not repenting enough, not fun enough – and on it goes. And yet, how often do I take on his voice in my mind? How often do I agree with the Accuser of the Saints, and accuse myself; being pushed by fear and shame rather than led by love?
I was with a group of parents recently and the conversation turned with a downward and guilty tone (as it often can) to “I should have done more of ____” or “I guess I should be doing ____ better.” And my mind started shouting, “No! Stop! This doesn’t sound like Jesus, this sounds like Satan!” So, I bravely said so.
Do we need to repent often? Absolutely. Do we need to teach our kids the Word and be consistent in discipline? Yes. Do we need help from parents who are farther along than us and make changes as our kids grow and as we learn too? Of course.
But here the question is: Are we being led by love into true self-reflection and genuine repentance, or guilted into trying to do better in and of ourselves, not trusting that God will use all things for our good (and our kids’ good) and his glory? No, all things are not good; we do mess up! But God is good. And He wastes nothing – not even our mistakes or sin. He is fully and completely good and powerful beyond comparison.
And so, we keep speaking the truth as we read the Bible to, and with, them. We keep pointing them to the truth, in our conversations. We keep abiding in the Word of God ourselves, that we may know and speak the truth to ourselves and to our kids.
As we do, we plant seeds and we know not when they will produce a harvest; and so God sanctifies us in our waiting and active trusting. We bury treasures of gospel truths, and scripture memory, and catechisms because when the Spirit awakens them to the truth, our children will have a treasure trove of his word stored up within them in their minds.
Sow generously with your life; bury treasure within your kids’ minds; pray, trust, and wait for the Spirit of God to open their hearts and minds and continue the work He’s beginning in them – through you – his chosen vessel to work in these kiddos that He has graciously given to YOU.
May He lead you in love as you abide in Him.