I feel like my mind is presently a big heaping bowl of vegetable soup. There’s a huge variety of stuff floating around, everything is a little muddled. I’m working on it.
A lot of my life is explained [by me, to myself... kind of a red flag] through food metaphors. Am I the only one? I mean, I think food is the ultimate time machine. One taste or smell can immediately transport you back to a time or place [good or bad] where some memory was made. Potato soup brings back memories of being a picky eater and cheese toast that stuck to the roof of my mouth.
I’m thankful for food memories. And for a mom who made home-cooked meals every night. A mom who made pans [and pans] of lasagna and drove it the 30 minutes to my school so that whatever sports team I was playing on at the time could appreciate those same home-cooked meals before a big game.
Parents make a huge impression on our lives. Even when we’re not living with them anymore. They are empowered [whether they accept the power or not] to completely mold our psyches. Of course we grow up and become adults and start working things out for ourselves, but it’s incredible how they shape us.
So incredible that when you actually become a parent -and probably for most when that baby is still growing in your belly- you start thinking of what you want and don’t want for your little lady or mister. I mean, this is a big deal. A huge responsibility.
We talked a lot during the Christmas season of the teenager Mary: a virgin chosen to be the mom of the Savior of the Universe. But I couldn’t help but think: what did Mary’s parents think of her sitch? I mean it seems like they raised her to be a Godly woman so they must have been pretty legit.
So Mary made me think, what do I really want for these kids? What’s the really important stuff I want to pass on to them? I mean of course I want them to be smart and well-rounded. And awesome. Doesn’t every parent? But what am I going to instill in them that’s going to have an infinite, universal purpose? How am I going to teach them to be warriors for Christ? I mean, I’m just a sinner. How do I break this [what I want them to be] down into something chewable for a toddler and a three-going-on-thirteen year-old. And how do I figure it out well enough that my understanding is fluid enough to grow with them [because it's crazy how fast they grow].
And then it all seems sort of daunting. So in addition to keeping them fed, clean, loved, and, well, alive… I also have to figure out a way to mold them into awesome [you know, Christ-sharing, God-fearing, selfless] people. But then it occurred to me that this is the most indirect, ever-present lesson motherhood has taught me. It is the way that motherhood is the most character revealing, make-you-want-to-be-a-better-person thing I’ve ever done.
In order to teach my kids how be the people I want them to be, I have to model those behaviors for them. I have to live it out, because that’s what they’re soaking up. They are with me all day: there is a direct relationship between my sin and their sin [at this point in their baby lives]. Eek.
But that’s kind of good, right? That to succeed in parenthood we need only to try to make ourselves better. And really, the effort on our part is minimal. I mean to say, it’s attainable. We just have to give it over to God.
“He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.’” [Matthew 17:20]
It’s the same idea of setting up the nursery: every new parent spends a lot of time making that space just right. We just have to create an environment for our kids that points them back to Christ.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:4-9]