Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

In the past week I've had a couple of people tell me that they love this blog, but they feel guilty after they read it because they aren't doing many of the things I've talked about. If you feel like that, I have two words for you -- Stop it! The point of this blog is to encourage you, not to make you feel guilty. I don't have perfect kids, and I'm not a perfect mom.

Sometimes, being a parent is discouraging. There are days when I look at my kids as they put their dirty feet on the kitchen table, belch at the dinner table, hit one another, offer disrespectful comments to my requests to do their chores and provide excellent examples of selfish behavior and think "Did they even listen to anything I've been saying?" And there are other days when I miss golden opportunities to talk to my kids, lose my temper when I shouldn't and say things I don't mean and think "Am I ever going to get this right?"

As moms, we tend to judge ourselves against other moms. We tell our children that they are special and wonderful just the way God made them, but we forget that fact when it comes to ourselves. God gave each of us a different style of parenting, and He made each of us with a different set of talents to use when we parent. Psalm 139:14 tells us that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by God. We believe that about our kids, but we tend to look at other moms and think that they are "doing it better."

Figure out what your strengths are, and use them to your advantage. If you are musically talented, use your musical talent to teach your children about worshipping God through song. If you're an artist, you can use your artistic talent to teach your kids about the beauty God has created in the world. If you are athletic, there are lots of lessons you can teach your child through sports, such as how to play fair, how to be an example of Christ to others on their team and how God can use failure to strengthen us. Think about what you do best, put it to work for you and quit comparing yourself to others.

Some of you may be thinking, "I really want to put some of this stuff into practice, but my kids are getting older. I didn't start soon enough." To you, I say start now. In Philippians 3:12-14, Paul says "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." As we journey the road of parenthood, we need to keep pressing on toward the goal, which is to raise Godly children, and forget the mistakes we have made in the past. God can use what we offer in ways we can never imagine, but we have to make the effort to step beyond whatever mistakes we have made and begin anew with a spirit open to God's leading in the way we approach our children.

So, as you go throughout your week, remember to look for opportunities to teach your children, and use your particular gifts and talents to do so. Keep pressing on toward the goal and let God's words, your friends and this blog encourage you to run the race well.