Our middle daughter (can I say “middle” when the youngest is still inside my belly?) turned two years old this week.
As I watch her and her four-year-old sister growing up so incredibly quickly, I sometimes start thinking about how much of what I do, both with them and in front of them, influences who they become.
This thought almost makes me start hyperventilating. I start feeling almost physically weighed down with the pressure to do things perfectly with my children.
I was recently reminded, however, of how much God loves these girls. He loves them even more than I love them. That idea is difficult for me to wrap my mind around, considering how deep is my love for them, but it is truth.
God loves my girls more than I do, and He wants them to fall in love with Him even more than I want that to happen.
And if God wants something to happen, well…
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? ~ Romans 8.31-32
This is, like most issues in my life, a refusal to trust, a difficulty in letting go of my pride. I have to trust God with the hearts and lives of my children and I have to realize that I am not the most important influence on them.
God is more than able to make up for my myriad of mistakes.
In fact, I am learning that it is good for me to make mistakes.
When I make mistakes with my little ones, when I mess up in front of them, I have the chance (if only I took it more consistently!) to show them how to make mistakes. I have the opportunity to teach them how to apologize, how to ask for forgiveness, how to ask God to change your heart and help you to do better.
How to do this, how to wisely use this chance, is something that is indelibly imprinted in my heart: it is the image of my dad asking me (a tiny, humble kid!) for my forgiveness. His actions taught me a beautiful lesson.
By messing up in front of my girls, I can show them that God loves them no matter what they do.
My eldest is already learning this lesson. Every night, as part of her four-year-old routine, she says, “Mommy? Did you know that God loves you even when you disobey?” And I respond “Yes, darling. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?”
This is what I want to teach my girls. That God loves them no matter what. That we can’t ever be good enough and that is why Jesus came to rescue us, why the Holy Spirit has to work in our hearts to heal them. I want them to rest secure in God’s love, enjoying His presence and loving Him right back.
I sit in awe and praise God that in His mercy and grace, He uses my mistakes, my imperfect and messed-up self, to show my girls just that.