Oh, the sweet whisper of my three-year-old as she puts her arms around me… “You’re the very best momma in the whole world.” Ahhh… Melt. My. Heart.
Not four hours later I am asking my son why he and his sister have to argue with mommy about everything when their daddy is gone. “Well, Mom, we just love Daddy more so…” and he rambles some reason that might make sense to him, but I can’t seem to piece together.
I’ll admit. When the words first came out of his mouth, there was a slight twinge in my heart.
It is days like these that I am reminded of the importance of not placing our identity in our children. Children’s perceptions of the world are fickle. One moment we are their ultimate hero and best friend. The next, we are the meanest person in the whole world for making them eat their peas. Oh, the horror!
It reminds me of innocent summer days picking petals off of flowers… “He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me…”
Here’s the hope and freedom in these moments, Mom and Dad… our identity isn’t found in who our children think we are. It’s not found in the times we succeed or fail as a parent. It’s not found in what we do, say or feel. Our identity is found in Christ who has called us to this great task of parenting our adorable, and often-challenging children.
First and foremost, you and I are children of the Most High God who calls us Beloved. Breathe in the freedom of that fact. You are Loved. No matter what. You. Are. Loved. Cherished. Delighted in. Chosen. Held close. THAT is who you are. Period.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is because of this, I can calmly listen to my son’s elaborate reasoning as to why he cannot help but argue with me without reacting or letting it ruin my whole day because that isn’t who I am. I am a Beloved Child of God. And that doesn’t change because Daddy is more fun than Mommy…
Yes, we have been called to an impossible-without-God’s-help task of raising our children to love and follow Christ. It is a calling. But even in that, it isn’t who we are. We aren’t defined by what our children call us or all the many times we fail or triumph in this calling. We are Beloved. Always Beloved.
And our children need us to be secure in that fact because we are, in fact, called. Called to intentionally teach, lead, and help them to a place where they can encounter the One who calls them Beloved also. We must be resolute in our mission and unhindered by our children’s fickle view of us.
Okay, Mom and Dad, where is your identity found? Have you been guilty of placing your identity on your children – how they treat you? How they act around others? What they say about you? How does this impact the way you parent them?
Father God, you have bestowed our identity upon each one of us. You speak over us of your unending, unchanging love. As the winds and waves of parenting shift, remind us of who we are. We are not defined by our successes, our failings, our achievements, our careers… We are defined by YOU. And You call us Beloved. Child of God. Chosen. Dearly Loved. And nothing can change that. Let us parent, confident of who we are in you so that we are not bounced around by our children’s fickle image of us. That we might better live in the calling you have placed on our lives as parents of these beautiful, dearly loved children. Amen.