A look of defeat forms on her sweet face. The thought comes to my mind..
…have I been putting too much pressure on her lately?
“Sweetie, do you feel like mommy has been asking too much from you?”
She looks up at me, her eyes filling mine with the overwhelming answer.
I knew instantly her reaction was genuine. I knew it because I felt the undeniable sense of the Lord’s conviction.
I had been expecting far too much of her over the past few weeks, and I had not been giving her the assurance that she was, unknowingly, desperately seeking.
She nods her head as the tears start streaming down her cheek. I pull her close as I feel the warm moisture begin to flood my own.
It’s a moment I despise, yet cherish at the same time. The emotion pierces my heart to its core, yet gratitude rises from the wound. I loathe the fact that I’ve caused her to feel this way, yet I’m thankful the Lord opened my eyes to its truth.
As a mom, I want to find a healthy balance in showing my conditional and my unconditional approval towards my children.
I want them to learn to obey authority by experiencing appropriate consequences, conditional to their behavior – whether good or bad. But I also want them to experience the benefits of my unconditional love for them.
Over the past month, the scale has been tipped too far towards the conditional.
You can have some ice cream, if you don’t whine.
We can read this book, if you clean your bedroom.
We can go to the Library tomorrow, if you don’t have any attitude with me today.
You can have this, if you do that.
I will do this for you, if you do that for me.
If. If. If. If. If.
Normally, I would say that ifs are ok, especially when children are young. But they need to be balanced with times of yes!!
Yes!!!… just because.
Yes, let’s go get some ice cream!
Yes, let’s read this book together!
Yes, we can go to the Library!
Yes, because I just want to spend time with you!
Yes, because I want you to know that I care!
When we look at the covenants the Lord inaugurated with Israel, we see one of them based entirely upon His love and grace (Genesis 15), and another conditional to their obedience (Exodus 24). God has freely extended His unconditional yes through the work He has done on the cross. Yet, we are still called to obey.
This method that God chose to use in His relationship with His people is the method I want to reflect in my relationship with my children.
I want them to understand the importance of obedience. But I also want them to understand that my love, just like God’s, is not conditional to it.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:31
I’m discovering that finding a balance among the if’s and yes’s to appropriately display this desire in my heart is not easy.
It requires a surrender of my will. It demands a frequent quenching of the fires of my flesh; a pushing through the barriers of exhaustion and frustration; a determined dedication to a steadfast mind.
It requires that I remain close to Him. Close to His truth. Close to His presence – each day and in each moment.
After we sat there for a few moments, I asked her if there was anything I could do to help her feel better about the situation.
She told me that she wanted to spend some time each day reading books – just her and I. Quality Time being one of her Love Languages, this response did not take me by surprise J
So that is what we have been doing.
Megan is a wife and mother, a chocolate lover, a guitar player, and a daughter of our heavenly Father. One of her greatest passions is growing in her knowledge of our Lord and inspiring other to do the same. Come check out some of her other posts on her blog, As For My House.
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5 thoughts on “Mentoring Mondays – Finding a Balance Between the “Ifs” and “Yes’s” of Motherhood By Megan Allen”
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Beautiful, Megan! I had similar sentiments when raising the Kline Kids! Our hearts are so big as mamas. One thing pointed out to me as they grew was, “No, they do NOT know when you’ve expected to much of them….only when they FEEL that way”. They look to you to challenge them out of their comfort zone and also need us to lay way back at times. The solution? Walk by the Spirit (as I know you do) and always show them Jesus guiding you and the peace that brings. They are babies just as we are in our Lords eyes…..and He knows what they need before they ever do and loves us right through the tears. Persevering with you, Mama!! :). Miss u!!!
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Beautiful Megan! I was just noticing a struggle with this balance in my home over the past week. I’ve been convicted to fix it… so grateful for your words encouraging that journey.
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What a great reminder. I’ve been noticing a little off balance in my mothering lately. I can see it and this post was a good reminder to do something about it. Using God’s relationship with us as our example is so important, too. Thank you for the beautiful words.
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There’s such a sweet theme of God’s grace running though this post, Megan. Thank-you for sharing from your heart about what Jesus is showing you along the way. I’m sure other mom’s will be encouraged to seek Him for His leading leading in loving their children well.