Sometimes our greatest frustrations can also be our greatest blessings. And I’m thinking of something very specific when I write that statement. In my house, it comes in the form of three little boys. That’s right, my children. Sometimes, I get to the end of a long day in which, for one reason or another, my husband has not yet arrived home. The kids have just gone to bed, and I look back at the day and regret much of, if not what I said, at least how I said it. I review my behavior and my children’s behavior, and I usually come to a conclusion similar to this one: if my kids are frustrating me, it’s most likely my fault. If my children’s behavior is not what it should be, it’s often because I’ve let things slide, either as a result of laziness or fatigue.
Don’t get me wrong—my children are definitely sinners, just like every other child under the sun; but if I’m telling them three or four times to do something, that’s my fault. Another negative “side effect” of the three- or four-times practice is that by the time I get to the third or fourth time, I’m usually not speaking patiently or lovingly. However, if I follow through with them after the first time they’re told to do something, they learn to “obey [their] father and mother” (Ephesians 6:1), and it’s much easier for me to live the Fruit of the Spirit (“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” Galatians 5:22-23).
In reality, my children are blessings far more often than they are frustrations, and for that, I thank the Lord. Truly, “children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). Other than salvation, is there any greater gift than children?! God showers His people with abundant blessings and gifts, but children must certainly rank among the greatest. It can be so rewarding to see your children memorize Scripture, share toys happily, learn new facts or skills excitedly and love their siblings sweetly. I often gain a new appreciation and wonder for Who my God is as I see His Creation and experience His gifts through the eyes of my children.
God also uses my children as sanctifying agents in my life. When I’m considering why they are struggling with a certain attitude or behavior, I often find they are mirroring my own difficulties which I’ve been slow to acknowledge. An area in which my children are a rebuke to me is that of forgiveness. They forgive my shortcomings so freely, and they (at least at this point in their young lives) never doubt my love. Oh, to have that same childlike trust in my Father’s love for me, regardless of the circumstances, difficulties or chastening I’m experiencing. This list could go on seemingly endlessly, and these have been just a few examples; but certainly, God uses my children to bring me to Him over and over again.
So, although sometimes I am frustrated or tired at the end of a long day, I am overwhelmingly blessed by the love of my children and the joy they bring me. I need God’s grace every day to be a godly mother, to make wise choices and to think the truth continually about these blessings with which He has entrusted me.
Written by Audrey Beth Roland. This article was published in the Summer 2014 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
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