Last night’s life group was on guilt. I know it really hits home for me. Mommy guilt is always present. We have guilt about so many things from what we feed our kids or letting them watch too much TV to those deeper hurts we have caused them that we would rather not talk about. We feel like inadequate parents when guilt follows us around. There are times when we are not as good of parents as we would like to be and then guilt sets in and makes us worse parents.
The book we are reading Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas, has a very interesting quote. It says, “None of us can be such good parents that God becomes obligated to save our children’s souls…and none of us can mess up so badly that our children somehow extend beyond the reach of God’s mercy.” This idea goes against a popular belief in Christianity that if you do all the right things as a parent then your children will always turn out right. Children have free will and whether you do all the right things or not, they can choose the wrong path. And conversely, if you stink it up as a parent your kids can still choose to follow God.
Guilt in our lives can be a positive thing. We can use it for good. “One way is that guilt can remind of us God’s providence- it is no accident that we have the children we have, God knew our limitations and theirs as well. God placed them in our care for a reason. He believes we can do the job.” This was very good for me to hear right now. Personally I struggle with this idea. Right now, we are going through a difficult time with our children. Our third son is adopted, and he was born prematurely. We knew when he was born that he might have some challenges ahead of him from being born premature and also possibly have a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis. We had him tested for this genetic disease and found out he does have it. It’s a very complicated disease and doctor’s don’t know that much about it. It is not life threatening, but can cause different issues for a child from skin problems to motor and speech delays. Joshua has been in physical and occupational therapy since January and is doing very well. He has made good progress but they have noticed some things about him that lead doctor’s to believe that there might be more to his issues than we thought. So, we are going through a series of testing right now. It’s very difficult to go through this as a family. We feel guilt about a lot of things, from not doing enough for our other children because we must focus on Joshua, to not being able to “fix” this for Joshua. This quote from the book really was helpful for me because there are times each day where I wonder what God was thinking giving me a child with special needs. I just don’t know if I can handle this and all the other children as well. But I know that He knew about Joshua’s condition before he was born and He chose us to be his parents because He knew we could do the job. We are the perfect parents for Joshua, although I don’t feel that way. This is something I have to remind myself of daily right now. God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.
I know many parents feel guilt for one thing or another. We can use that guilt to beat ourselves up, or we can use it positively to change things and realize our weakness can be made up for with God’s strength, if we will allow Him to help us. There is no perfect parents, so don’t hold yourself to such impossible standards. God sees your heart and knows your best intentions.