Phil and I had been gone for a long weekend. The boys were left with their older brother for four days. A risk, maybe, but worth it. I planned ahead, got everything ready that they would possibly need. I even typed out a schedule with a list of chores and responsibilities. I had several conversations with them. Order, organization and communication - check, check and check.
Coming home on Sunday afternoon, I think I could smell my sons before I could see them. It felt like walking into a frat house. They had friends over and were playing loudly, the house was a mess. For some reason everything felt sticky. And, really, where was that smell coming from? The boys were not thrilled to see us. Their greeting was, “Home already?” ...oh, the love. I hugged them anyway (then kicked their friends out and made them clean).
This experience (and many like it) have taught me something important: kids need moms.
Yes, the whole world smells better because we have moms. But far beyond that, moms are vital for the persistent training that is needed in raising children. No other being besides a mother has the life-long patience to do this. How many times do I have to remind my boys to clean up after themselves, to say thank you, or to not hit each other? A. L.O.T. Do they always listen the first time? N.O. Am I repetitive in my instructions? Do I have to repeat myself often? Did you hear what I just said? Did you understand what I asked you to do? Will you repeat it back to me? See, I wrote it down so you will remember it. You still forgot and don’t remember ever talking about this before? Aghhh!!
Who else but moms could put ourselves through this for 18 years and then cry when these creatures finally leave home? Who else but moms could handle instructing, training and correcting all day, every day and still love these kids so much we could burst? Just moms.
God put mothers in a fantastic position to demonstrate the attribute of faithfulness. Our God is always faithful, even when we are not. This truth is found in one of my favorite portions of scripture, 2 Timothy 2:11-13: “If we have died with him, we will also live with him, if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself.”
We moms demonstrate this to our children by remaining a faithful parent. Meaning, we continue to guide them and train them in the way they should go even when they ignore, dismiss or forget our counsel. We do not give up on them when they fail, we re-instruct and keep on loving them. This is what our loving Heavenly Father does for us. We are so very forgetful, ignorant and stubborn. Yet, our Father “gives more grace” to his children (James 4:6). This grace is undeserved because we are most certainly unworthy of it, yet it is given because of the faithfulness of the Father.
Just as we expect our children to grow in their understanding and obedience, God desires the same for us. Thankfully, he left us a note! God wrote down his words of instruction for us and tells us to read it. So do that - read it and do what it says. Allow his words to train and correct your heart.
Moms, keep on momming. Exhibit God’s faithfulness as you faithfully train up your children day after day, year after year. There will be a time when you agree with the Psalmist when he said: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3. It may not be right after returning home to a stinky mess with grumpy kids, but it will come.
One final tip: if you take the time to type up a schedule and list of responsibilities, afix it firmly to the refrigerator for everyone to see. Do not leave it on the table where it will end up being used as a bookmark in a Calvin and Hobbes comic book on the first day - all record of responsibility gone for the rest of the weekend! True story.