I often used to wonder why God did not include an instruction booklet when he blessed us with children. People would often say things like, "But God did...the Bible is the only instruction book that you will ever need..." or "The Word of God is sufficient for thee, Glynis..." or "follow your heart and listen for that still, small Voice..." Many other pearls of wisdom were tossed my way. And I heeded them and acknowledged them and smiled my nice, Christian smile and went on my merry way.
But in my heart I wasn’t buying it. What I really wanted was a step-by-step idiot’s guide to parenting. I wanted to do it right. I wanted to see immediate fruits and receive affirmation from the world that I rocked as a mother. So I plodded along over the years dragging my junior offspring along for the ride.
Perhaps if I tried to become the Proverbs 31 picture of perfection, then I would become the perfect momma bear with the perfect cubs. So I tried. After all, those virtuous woman instructions were pretty well spelled out in the Bible. I tried not to eat the bread of idleness [in hopes that my children learn by example and then would rise up and call me blessed!] I home schooled my children. I worked willingly with my hands and even sometimes rose up while it was yet night. But many times I was tired and grumpy and grumbled and groaned about how busy I was. I wanted results. I wanted them the easy way and I wanted them now. I pestered God to get cracking but looking back now, I realize I forgot one thing. Life is all about His will, His timing and His plan – not mine.
But, as always, God didn’t disappoint me. One day, he gave me a wake-up call. It was a small sample of fruit but it was a mighty eye-opener for this Proverbs 31 dropout.
We were browsing in one of our favourite hotspots at the time – the local thrift store. I loved the good deals on books and we would sometimes meander on over to the clothing rack in search of bargains. This one particular day I had my nose stuck between the covers of a 50-cent classic and I felt a tap on my shoulder. Trevor, my almost teen junior offspring, had come across a pair of stylish brand named jeans. They fit nicely into his budget and the size was right. As he held up the jeans for me to see, he somehow stuck his hand into one of the pockets and to his surprise and my shock, pulled out a crisp $5 bill. We smiled at each other and he immediately said, “Who do I give it to?”
I tucked the jeans under my arm and Trevor clutched his lucky find. We headed to the front counter and Trevor told the lady who served us about the money in the pocket. She commented on his honesty and thanked him immensely. (She also knocked a dollar of the price of the jeans!)
On our drive home I asked Trevor if, for one moment, he had thought about keeping the money. “Uh-uh…no way. That’s not right.”
Then it occurred to me. I was concerning myself wondering if values were being instilled or if a lesson on morality ever sank in. But judging by what I witnessed that day, I knew the foundation was there. And when I think back over the years there have been many, many different fruits evidenced in the lives of my children. In my vain attempt at ‘doing everything right’ I was missing them. I soon discovered that all this fruit growing was not my doing. I was merely a vessel being used by God. My job was not to become super mom. It was to let go and let God take over.
I learned some important lessons that day at the thrift store. Fruits of our labours are not always immediate so I had better clothe myself in patience. Affirmation from the world is not something I should seek so I had better realize that my motivation should purely be a God thing and not my thing. And I also learned that the only way to ‘rock’ as a mother is to look to the Rock and to offer up my children to the throne of God [and leave them there.]
So I’ve been making an effort. I’ve fumbled along and I’ve tried to listen to that still small Voice. There were times over the years when my spiritual deafness was evident. There were times when I went back to the throne and tried to take my children back, but I soon realized the futility of that notion.
My children are grown now and starting families of their own. I presented Trevor with a nice, crisp $5 bill and a new pair of stylish brand named jeans at his wedding two years ago, but little did he know that on that special day I was publicly applauding more than his honesty. I was inwardly thanking him for helping me realize that God is in control and that elusive parental instruction booklet is really a matter of the heart.
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30