“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. ”Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. ”If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13: 15-17
When my children and I go to the grocery store — all of us, all five of us — it is a precarious walk from the car door to the sidewalk entrance. So, I came up with this game. We play ducks.
I am the mommy duck and the kids are the baby ducks, and the baby ducks have to follow the mommy duck very closely. And we all have to quack loudly like ducks until we make it safely across the ‘pond’.
It keeps the kids safe and makes me look neurotic…all at the same time! Fun, huh?
(I’m really not sure why it works, but it does.)
Raising little christian people is a lot like walking through that parking lot. It’s dangerous.
At every turn, we are met with life-threatening evils and loud, honking distractions.
It’s weighty, knowing that they are following me.
Lately, I have become passionate about the way I lead my children, and I have been convicted to make sure that my own life is not a stumbling block for them. I can lecture and preach all I want to, but if I don’t live like someone who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, then what good are my words?
As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “ I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
If I spend 30 minutes explaining to my 3 year old that he can’t yell at this brother just because he is angry, and then five minutes later raise my voice at him because he has once again disobeyed, my words become noise.
What good is it to preach kindness to my children, and then come at them with hostility?
Or to encourage them to forgive one another while holding a grudge against them myself?
Or to explain to them what it means to be attentive, and then half-heartedly listen to them tell me all about the adventure they just had outside.
If I want to be heard, I have to listen. If I want to be loved and respected, I need to love and respect. If I want to be obeyed, I have model obedience.
There are so many fantastic resources out there for mothers. And I feel like I am constantly groping for the next one. I read books, watch interviews, read blogs, talk with other moms, and listen to radio shows
But my children could care less about how many books I have read, or how many well intended sticky notes are taped up around the house reminding me to make good habits. What they care about is what they see.
They need to hear the Word of God proclaimed in our household, no doubt. Without it, they have no hope.
But they also need to hear it from someone who they see believing it.
This is so convicting, and so hard!
As I stared into the eyes of my child yesterday and told him how the Savior was nailed to the cross because of the sin that he clung to, I felt the burden of my own sin weighing down heavy upon my heart.
It was indeed my sins, the ones I cling to in secret, the ones that I can dress up in pretty lies and keep as pets…
It was those that nailed my Savior to the cross.
Can I truly love that which killed my Lord?
I think about Him on that cross drawing His final breath, having suffered so greatly, having been humiliated and hurt for my sake, and what was His final thought?
“It is finished.” He said.
His last words to His people were words of comfort to us.
If that doesn’t make you hate your sin, I don’t know what will.
When I find myself as I did yesterday, seeing the cross more clearly as another layer of the veil is removed, and I see myself in the light of day tightly clinging to those sins, I repent.
I throw them off as if they are hot coals and I run from them. I have to. Because I love my Savior. And as I tell my children, you can’t love your Savior and your sin.
But it’s usually in those moments of teaching, that the Lord teaches me. And I’m thankful for that.
And I’m stirred up once again to good works.
I don’t want to be a noisy, clanging symbol to my children. I want my words to count. Every one.
So as I get up this morning and pray and drink my coffee, I make sure that I am prepared to lead this little paddling of ducks.
I make sure that I am prepared to walk the walk and talk the talk.
Because if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…
Well, it must be a duck.