So it has been rather a long and meandering thread – but I think we are getting somewhere!
I started out by asking if I was doing a good job of parenting the three children I currently have in my care.
Our second child was stillborn and we remember his birthday today – he would have been 12 years old.
Various witnesses were called including:
The State, The Professionals and Middle Class Society were the first three to testify. Their verdict was basically:
On the one hand – no intervention is required, but on the other hand not a contender for the gold star.
What I hear: We’ll keep giving advice, and presenting the ideal, and you can keep feeling guilty about it.
The next witnesses were: The people who write books and give talks on Christian parenting.
Their verdict was: She sets high standards of intentional parenting, and then struggles to meet them. She tries very hard, but rests in God’s loving, wise providence very badly.
The final witness called was God’s word concerning children and mothers. Please refer to full court transcript for the qualifying comment on this testimony.
- What this mother is experiencing is normal. Sinners parenting sinners in a broken sinful world will be hard and imperfect and messy.
- Despite the broken-ness – families are a God-given entity for the good of individuals and society and are one of the many channels through which he works.
- Bringing up children is a good deed.
- God did not make a mistake with any of the four children this mother has given birth to. They were meant for her and she was meant for them.
- Her job is to do what she can so that her children are not hindered from coming to Jesus.
- Her job is to celebrate God and his rescue in a question-prompting manner in daily life and in special celebrations.
- God has not given us the script for celebrating him in conversation with our children – in contrast to some of the festivals in the Old Testament. This mother needs to be careful not to let good ideas and godly aims become “I have to do x or y otherwise I am failing!” or “It will all go wrong if I don’t do this or that” or “She is behaving that way because I didn’t do a or b“.
- Her godliness and wise choices (or lack thereof) will play a significant role in their lives and the lives of future generations BUT never a role outside of God’s perfect plan.
- Before she is a mother, this woman is a precious child of God.
- It is God’s work as their heavenly Father that this woman’s children really need – not her perfect parenting. While she can pray for them she also needs to remember that there is a lot going on that is way above her pay grade!
In Conclusion: The lives of this mother and her children are in God’s hands. The work of mothering these three children is a good work that God has wisely prepared for her under his supervision and sovereignty. He crafted her in just the right way for the job and prepared the job to be just right for her. He knows what he is doing – trust him.