These mom days are hard.
The tough love too rough on this mama's tender heart. The impulse too strong to want to be so soft.
I'd rather coax and cajole and plead and persuade them to choose right, to do what is required instead of choosing to do wrong. I'd rather wait insufferably than to allow them to bear the consequence of their choices. I'd rather bear the pain of all their sorrow than to see them suffer with the weight of all their sin.
And so I do.
I bear these long days of short legs and teetering tiptoes still navigating life and the choosing of their paths.
I'm tender with their rough patches, the squeals of self that insist on stubbornness.
I'm soft with their breaking hearts, the ones that bleed their shame and sorrow right through their weeping eyes.
I coax and plead, teaching them that consequences follow each of our decisions and that I want to spare them the pain by leading them, through Jesus, to full reconciliation and redemption beyond this brief folly.
I wait, never flinching at the anger that spews or the ignorance that lashes out - I know too well the lies that flood and how the desire to be boss debilitates our ability to see love when it is looking straight into our hearts.
I bear the pain of their rejection as they struggle under the burden of self. Willingly bearing what I don't wish to so they can experience the only thing that may cause them to consider reversing their self-led marching orders...love.
And then I do it again. Over and over, again and again.
Impressing upon them my love and tenderness towards them, holding them, speaking words of my heart softly into theirs, I plead with them to accept it, to believe it, to let it in and let it heal their hurt.
All of this, the lost moments of joy, the energy squandered on the struggle, the sobs that wrack the body, all of it, it could be over with a simple surrender. With just a humble wave of that white flag of self-conquering, victory is theirs and ours.
Coming to the One who made a way out of receiving only what we deserve, that is the same way out of these hard scrabbles with soft hearts. Turning from what destroys and to the One who redeems, that is their way too of reconciliation. This is where I lead them, this Cross the only message of instruction I know.
Their quivering voices betray the melting of their hearts. Their fierce hugs confirm that the blinders have at once fallen off and that this love, Jesus' love and mine, has led them straight back home, finally comforted in the arms of mama.
I teach them this way because it is the only way I know, a way that I know has been tried, tested, and best in the times of my own choosing. This is the way I strive to parent because this is how my own heavenly Father parents me.
He is patient in my ignorance. He is long suffering, not wanting any to suffer the agonizing consequence of their own choosing. He bled so I no longer must, no more wallowing in the red of my unrighteousness. He is my good shepherd, leading gently, prodding tenderly.
Because He endured for me, I wait for them. Because His kindness leads me to repentance, I offer it to them.
Because He is Father, I know just how to mother.