Honesty. Children will tell you when you have gained weight, when your cooking is not that great and when you have bad breath. My Ella will be the first one to say, “You probably need to take a shower.” Honesty is so refreshing – and insulting – all at the same time.
Memory loss. Anyone who has more than one child does so because they have forgotten the weight gain, the pain of childbirth and the subsequent sleepless nights.
Forgiveness. In my life before children, I could hold a grudge like nobody’s business. I could harbor some hurt feelings for a long, long time. Having children has really changed me in that respect. When I am upset with my eldest and she comes to me with her big blue eyes and says, Mommy, are you still mad at me?, I forget what I was even upset about in the first place. Again, with the memory loss thing.
Humility. Yes, children have a way of delivering a big old load of this stuff. When your child points out, in front of others, that you have a big pimple on your chin. Or that your belly is bigger than it used to be. Or when your two year old tells her daycare teacher that you are wearing pretty pink panties. I could not make this stuff up, y’all. Then there was the time that I lost my cool and yelled at one of my kiddos. I felt the need to apologize and did. She accepted my apology so graciously. However, several weeks later, she called me out. Mommy, remember when you yelled at me this morning? Do you think that maybe you should apologize again?
Humor. This is one of the best perks to having children in your life. Not a day goes by that one of my girls does not make me absolutely crack up. I remember when number two (yes, I do refer to them as numbers sometimes) was little. I was very upset because she was not listening. I let her know that she was not minding and I did not appreciate it. Her response? “I know, but I’m so pretty.” And, well, she really was. Or when that same child would say, “Mommy, you’re my special mommy ever. Now tell me how special I am.”
The greatest gift of motherhood, however, is something I am only beginning to grasp a full decade later. God uses my children to, little-by-little, mold me into the image of His Son. He uses them daily to teach me love, forgiveness and humility. He reminds me daily that all things, even my babies, are His.
Parenting is such a gift, but it is one that you have to hold loosely. We are called to care for, train up and love the precious children in our lives. Ultimately, however, they are not ours to keep. They are His.
What has God taught you through the children in your life?
Stacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.