April 4, 2012

Day 4: Interrupted by Inadequacy

I'm writing daily this month on being interrupted by grace.  Learn more and join in here.

I have children.  God has given them to my husband and me and called us to raise them.  It's beautiful.  But the truth is, I don't really know how.

When they're tiny, like Katherine, you're tired and taxed by the day-to-day physical needs of your little one.  As they get older, however, their sinful little hearts express themselves more overtly and quite regularly.  Just. like. their. mother's.  Fortunately, when they're toddlers, you can plop them in a time out or physically restrain them and "force" them to obey ... to some degree ... sometimes, enjoying the illusion of control.  Then they grow up a little more.

Elizabeth's at that stage.  She's well beyond grabbing toys from other children; now she covets their pets.  She no longer cries or whines desperately to get something; now she tries to negotiate for it with pitiful sighs or expressions of discontent.

I sat praying this morning, and thinking of my inability and often lack of desire to keep guiding and directing her in a path of righteousness, I prayed for her.   This led to praying for myself.  Because you know what, I am a  natural quitter.  When the going gets tough, my first inclination is to give up.  Left to myself, I'd just keep saying "stop it" to her, rather than asking God to give me wisdom (and patience and kindness) beyond myself, so that Elizabeth is nurtured, admonished, and guided into adulthood.  Always telling her to "stop it" now, won't equip her to choose contentment when circumstances really are dire in the future.  Talking with her about what's going on in her mind and heart, expressing understanding, and pointing her to the God who is there.  Now that will prepare her.

But it doesn't come naturally, because the sinner kid is being raised by a sinner mom who'd rather not have to deal with it.  And I usually don't know what to say anyway!

But it is God who called me to be her mommy.

So today as I prayed, He interrupted me with my own pitiful inadequacy, then reminded me of His abundant adequacy:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:2-5
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.   2 Corinthians 12:9-10

He gives wisdom.  His power is at work in me in my weakness.  He gets the glory.

Have you interrupted by your inadequacy today?  I hope God met you there and gave you hope.


  1. I am enjoying your Interrupted posts. I have been feeling a LOT of inadequacy lately as Miles starts to show his will. I am learning I am largely powerless to do much about it, since it stems from his heart. I recently read a book that I think you would really like: Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony. It's a really great framework for setting your home up to be a place where you are not necessarily trying to control your children's behavior so much as creating a legacy of faith, creating a space where the Holy Spirit intervenes in their hearts. I am also currently in the middle of the toddler edition of Parenting with Love and Logic – a slightly more "now-applicable" guide to some practical toddler stuff.

    1. It's remarkable what parenting does to drive us to Jesus, isn't it? Especially revealing what's in our heart when our wills are crossed by our kids'! :) Keep up the good work, mama!

      Thanks for the book rec. I have a friend who loves the Love and Logic books; I've never read them. Maybe I should soon! And thanks for the other rec too. Sounds excellent. Do you have it to borrow?

  2. This one hit home, thanks heather! Just this morning I had to apologize to Frankie for losing my temper and yelling at her to "stop it!" when she was whining. Again. "you're too old for this" I burdened her with. I need to pray for her and for me, that I won't start whining myself and give up on her when I'm weary of the work God has called me to in guiding her to maturity. Because it's going to take a lot longer than 5 years, and is certainly not something I can do on my own!