If I were to ask moms if they wanted to be more like Jesus, most would eagerly raise their hand with a resounding, “Yes!” Yet few of us understand or enjoy the process of becoming more like Him. Let me explain how God gives us an opportunity to be more like Jesus the moment we become parents.
Every home we have lived in had an open floor plan and my four children (very close in age) would begin in one end of the house and zoom in and out of the kitchen, dining room, living room and then repeat over and over at record speed. I am a very fun mom and can handle noises and messes, but it was like they would hit a certain octave and my blood pressure would shoot up. I would cash in on my parental authority and command that everyone switch gears to something more peaceful. I couldn’t shut it down fast enough. This would go on for years and I could never really figure out why I was fine one minute and not the next. One day when I was barking orders for peace, I heard God say, “What are they doing wrong?” I replied, “I don’t know, but I don’t like it.” I began to see that maybe this was my issue and not theirs. For the next month, whenever the kids raced around the house, I would go in the back room and process my heart. I felt anxious, scared and uptight, yet my ears were hearing joy, laughter, and connection. Why was this so upsetting to me? God began to show me that when I was little and my siblings and I would get crazy, all hell would break loose and someone would get punished severely. You didn’t want to be on the receiving end, but worse yet was having to endure listening to your siblings get the wrath. He showed me that joy scared me because it meant someone was going to get hurt. He gave me four bundles of JOY to restore what was lost in my own journey. I began to cry at the reality of just how anxious joy made me feel.
Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest to walk through has been the healing process of receiving the GOOD. And more times than not, it was something modeled through my children (joy, play, silliness, trust, lavish, loyalty, laughter). They are made in His image, not mine, and God knits them with gifts, talents, and a personality to redeem and restore what was lost in mine. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He gives us one set of parents to raise and train us and whatever area was neglected or shut down He continues the job when we become parents and uses our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us and the generations are interconnected.
HeartWork – Get out your journal and recall the last time you had an above average reaction to something your child did. Ask Jesus some questions and allow Him to minister to your heart (do not be introspective, but rather ask and listen to what He has to share). “Jesus, was this their issue or mine?” If it was your issue, ask, “Jesus, what was my heart feeling at the time?” “What made my heart so uncomfortable at that moment?” “When was the first time I felt that emotion?” “What did my heart need?” If your reaction to something is on a scale of 1-5, chances are you are just feeling a response to the event, but if your reaction is a 6-10, there is a good chance you are being triggered from previous situations that brought pain. God wants to heal that place so that you can respond in love and walk in peace.
Use these questions the next time you are triggered with a higher than usual response to your child and allow those uncomfortable moments to be the times you are molded to be more like Jesus. We don’t want our wounds or lack parenting our children. We want to parent from a place of wholeness and freedom. Understanding this is so important because oftentimes we react to our children who aren’t doing anything wrong, yet our reaction (out of a wounded or hurt place) teaches them that it is not okay to be who God made them to be, such as joyful (in my case). Allow Him to parent you through your child!
P.S. I am proud of you for doing the hard things so that your child doesn’t need to reap the fruit.