thankful for you

Dear boys,

I’m so thankful for you both.

In Genesis 33, Jacob referred to his children as those whom, “God hath graciously given thy servant”.

Given graciously. Grace. We don’t deserve what is given to us by grace. I don’t deserve to be your mom. You boys are my gifts; graciously given to me by God as further proof that He loves us and wants us to experience the true joy that is brought by the relationship between a parent and child.

Through this relationship, we are able to see glimpses of the pure love and intimacy God desires to have with us as His children. At this moment in your lives, as a 5 year old and a 19 month old, you both want nothing more than to please your daddy and mama. You simply want to love us and have us love you back. There are times when you each try to get your own way- and this becomes more frequent the older you grow- but you quickly repent and want nothing more than to be hugged and snuggled after a round of correction.

You, my boys, are my greatest teachers.

I’m not sure if this was by design- but I never realized just how much I needed God’s grace, love, and mercy until I became a mom. When God saved me, it was because I knew I needed His righteousness and had none of my own. I humbled myself enough to ask for His grace and mercy- knowing I could never measure up to His Glory… but oh, how little did I know of myself then.

Because of you boys, I am able to see myself in a whole new way- and it isn’t always pretty.

The more I realize how wretched I am, the closer I draw to God.

As a mother, I am supposed to be selfless, self-sacrificing, loving, patient, nurturing, kind, giving, submissive to your daddy, and an example of what your future wife might be like. I fail every-single-day. You have no idea how humbling this is.

Many nights guilt, shame, and regret floods over me because of something I said or did that day that was just totally wrong. I repent and resolve to do better the next day, only to act out a repeat performance.

Boys, through mothering you I have experienced my complete and utter lack of self-righteousness. What is good about me comes from Jesus. I have no goodness of my own to offer. I must cling to Jesus if I have any hope of living up to the ideal.

As a teenager and young adult, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re “okay”. You know you’re not perfect and that you’ll never measure up to God, but your sins haven’t really hurt those around you, not with a lasting effect, anyway. You accomplish some things on your own and family and friends are proud, and feel good about yourself. You might treat people nicely and you’re probably even a great friend. Soon you’ll be married and your spouse will be quick to forgive your flaws, realizing how you’ve forgiven theirs.

But then you have children.

Boys, you innocently expect me to be more than I ever thought I could be. You need me to be better than I ever thought necessary. You deserve a mother who is selfless, self-sacrificing, loving, patient, nurturing, kind, giving, submissive, and exemplary. And you hold me accountable for it. It’s because of you that I want to possess all of those characteristics. Although I frustrate myself, I thank God for what you teach me.

As a mother, my shortcomings are glaringly obvious. Their effects are immediate. I cannot ignore their consequences. The guilt from my failures sometimes physically hurts.

Day after day I fail. And I’m sure that pattern will continue. But because of you, I resolve each night, with God’s help, to do better the next day. Some days are a step forward, and some are two steps back. But you both are my constant reminders of what I need to be striving for moment by moment. Your presence reminds me to thank God for His grace and goodness, your mistakes remind me to beg for wisdom, your inquisitive minds prompt me to study and learn what God has to say about the things of the world through His word. The more you grow the more I’m reminded to pray for your future wives, your country, your leaders, and your walk with God.

Mothering you has helped me learn to trust God.

Because of how much you boys must lean on me, the more I must lean on God. As little children, you must blindly trust your parents to care for you in the best way possible. You have absolutely no way of providing for yourselves.

What a picture that is of how our relationship with God should be. Boys, I fail you on a daily basis. God never will. Daddy has his own (however few 😉 ) shortcomings, and he will disappoint you. God never disappoints. The longer I am a mother, the more I realize how much I need God. Without His provision, I can do nothing.

Out of pure need, you unquestioningly trust us to do what’s best for you. Our need of God’s care never changes- even as we grow older.

You’ve helped me to see the necessity of humility.

Isaac, you are always trying to put your own shoes on. It’s so cute. They’re always on the wrong feet. Sometimes, you choose daddy’s shoes and stumble around in them, smiling and laughing as you shuffle. I love to watch you learn and experiment, but it usually ends with tears after a fall.

Christian, you love to help yourself to drinks and snacks. Sometimes you pull a gallon of milk out of the fridge and try to pour yourself a glass. You’re not doing this in disobedience or rebellion, just with a little over confidence in your ability to maneuver a heavy milk jug. Occasionally you’re successful, but generally, it spills and there’s a mess to clean up.

Boys, sometimes I try to do things my own way instead of God’s way. This isn’t always out of disobedience or rebellion. But it’s a prideful spirit that fools me into thinking I don’t always need help. God doesn’t always intervene and stop me from making a fool of myself. Sometimes, He sits back and allows me to learn my lessons the hard way. After these self-willed attempts end with tears after a fall or a mess to clean up, I’m quicker to humble myself and ask for help.

I’m so thankful for you.

I thank God for giving me you. You help me to see myself for who I am and my moment by moment need of God’s guidance and mercy. You show me my flaws and you wholly trust and depend on me anyway. You’re my constant reminder to seek God’s wisdom, to strive to be more like Christ. You are the children God has graciously given me.

With love,