“He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11
Have you ever felt mom-guilt? Last night, as I was rocking my baby, I thought of my first child and all the things I did wrong from the moment he was born. My first moment of guilt comes from his very first week of life when I was still recovering from being extremely ill in the hospital. His nurse called me from the N.I.C.U. at 11 pm and sharply told me she could no longer hold his feeding, was I coming? I had told the nurse on the previous shift that I was going back to my room to rest and wouldn’t be there the rest of the night (he was being fed through a feeding tube in his nose at this point). I told the nurse to please go ahead and feed him, but I sat there and cried for the next few hours that my baby had gone hungry because I wanted some sleep. I finally made my husband wheel me down to the NICU at 3 am just to see my 3 lb little love. He had no idea, but I was suffering from mom-guilt that would last for years.
And while this first instance wasn’t necessarily my fault, I have a long list of things I remember doing wrong that I wish I could take back. From angry outbursts to not spending enough quality time with my boys to many, many parenting mistakes. I have felt like a failure more days than I can even count. As I pray each morning, I ask God to make me a better wife, a better mom, and a better servant of His. This past Friday morning as I was spending time in my devotions and praying, I felt God reminding me that He loves these children even more than I do. They are my current ministry.
Several places in the Bible remind me how much God loves kids. Here are just a couple. Matthew 18:10 says “Do not look down on any of these little ones, for I tell you their angels always see the face of my Father in heaven.” In three places Jesus told His disciples to “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14 Luke 18:16).
God, who loves our children, in his infinite wisdom gave them to US to parent. This is a mystery I can’t understand. God knew what I’d be like as a parent, and yet he still entrusted these precious little lives into my care. This is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. Yet, this fact gives me some comfort.
What gives me the most comfort, though, is the verse from Isaiah above that says that “He gently leads those who have young.” How am I supposed to be the parent God wants me to be? I honestly don’t know the answer. But, what I do know is that I’ll hopefully get there by following His lead. The tone of this verse is not demanding or time-consuming – it shows God as our shepherd gathering us in His arms and carrying us. As a mommy, do you need carried at times? I often have a little one on my hip and not enough time to accomplish all the tasks I’ve set out to do. Combined with the consistency needed for good parenting, spilled milk, brothers who don’t want to share, a leaking diaper, a mountain of laundry and a long list of demands for my time – I need the gentle leading of God. I need God who promises to gather us to Him and carry us.
He knows how precious this time is! As I talk to older folks, most wish that they could go back to this very time in their lives. Honestly, I want to cherish each and every moment with my kids while they are little. I shudder at the thought that someday they will leave my home! I love each one and long to do the right thing with them. I want them to be responsible citizens some day, but for today, I just want them to know how much they mean to me, how much I love them, and how much I want for each of them. Today, if I follow God’s lead, I’m hoping that I can be the best parent He’s created me to be.
Allow Him to lead you today – and don’t forget to give Him the praise, glory and thanks He deserves for being such an awesome God!