You are busy, you have stuff to do, and you hear your child’s voice calling you from the back door. You ignore them, because that is what any self-respecting mother who expects to get anything at all done in a twenty four hour period would do. The calls are insistent. That kid is not going away. Whatever they have to say is apparently worth repeating “maaaaaammmmmmaaaa” seventeen times. The eighteenth time the little voice takes on a forlorn tone as if you have abandoned them forever. The tone of voice does its work, and your awakened feelings of pity send you immediately to admire the flower they have found (one of the approximately four billion weeds in the yard), be appropriately sympathetic about the scratch on their finger (which you can’t actually see), get them a drink (which they could have gotten themselves), assure them that you have not left the country (the thought of which is rather more appealing than you might want to admit), and send them happily on their way (while you try to remember what on earth you were doing before being interrupted). While I may be satisfied with a barely there check in the “good mom” box, my Heavenly Father operates on a completely different scale.
It often feels achingly lonely in my back yard life. I have knocked on Heaven’s door many times, sometimes not really because I even had too much going on, so much as I just wanted to hear the Father’s voice. He has never been to busy to speak to my heart, He carefully treasures my poor little offerings, and listens with grave attention to my troubles. As for my needs, whatever little drink I need is always already waiting just inside the door. As if somehow He knows, and He has been sitting waiting, and listening for my knock the whole time. I can be a mom to my children, but I can not be this kind of a soul saving, pain redeeming Savior for them.
Do you know why I like to frequently visit the cemetery where my two year old is buried? It is not because his body is there, it is because reality is there. Sitting beside a four foot by three foot plot of grass, staring down rows and rows of randomly shaped stones, has the powerful ability to adjust life’s glasses back into perfect focus for me. I cannot be confused about what in life matters sitting there. I cannot have an overblown opinion of myself while I sit there either. Because I could not stop this.
On my best day, I cannot actually make my kids safe, make them good people, or be the constant supply of strength that they need. I must remember this! I must, for my own sanity and for their future stability, remember who is supposed to be on the other end of the only relationship capable of holding them faithfully, who owns the only hand capable of unerringly pointing them in the right direction, and who wields the only power capable of fully protecting their hearts. That person is not me. It is God. The minute I start running interference between God and them, when I start screening the phone calls from Heaven, when I take all the pricks of pain out of their life, I am telling God that I am a better parent than He. Am I? I could not stop the little fender-bender car wreck that endangered us all last week, I could not stop brain damage, I could not stop cancer, I could not stop death, and I cannot stop evil. I am not in the position to provide perfect safety for either body or soul. I am my children’s mom, but I am not my children’s Savior.
Pain and headache will walk into their lives without asking my permission first. God will ask hard steps of obedience from them that He did not clear through me. People will say and do hurtful things to them without my approval. What then? What will anchor their soul in stormy seas that sweep them far beyond my reach? What still small voice of eternal, abiding peace will speak comfort into their hearts when all the distractions have been exhausted? What prick of Holy Spirit correction will keep them from disaster when authority ceases to be heard?
The best sort of mom that I can be is the sort of mom who looks her child square in the eye and with all a mother’s love says, You are not ok, and I am not ok, we have a sin problem. I can do many things for you, but I cannot take your sin problem. I am your mom, but I cannot be your Savior. I will empty my plate of an enormous amount of the “mom guilt” we mothers like to cart around with us if I refuse to cary the burden the cross was meant to cary. My frail shoulders were never designed for such a monstrous load. I cannot be a better parent than God, I cannot even be the parent I ought to be most days. If I can only do one thing for my children, let me do this, let me bring them to the cross. All the healing they will ever need is found there, all the safety, all the comfort, all the security, all the confidence, and all the love. I can be a mom, but I cannot be a Savior.
Psalms 89:1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
Psalms 145:4 One generation shall praise thy works to another…