Our theology of God shapes our parenting.
Our parenting – like most of our lives – tracks its way back to what we truly believe about the nature and the character of God. – Sarah Bessey
Somewhere over the past year, my gentle, funny, cuddle loving little boy has grown into a 6″2 basketball loving, serious, young man. I forget sometimes that he is just 14 years old. Today was one of those days.
He text about mid afternoon to say that he had volleyball training till 6 pm. I promised to pick him up from school when he was done. This trek across town added an hour to my already lengthy day. I couldn’t wait to get home and enjoy a walk down to the nearby reserve with the family to enjoy one of the first warm days after a long, cold, wet Auckland winter. I got to the school at 6 pm and rang his phone twice. I waited 30 minutes, then 45 before I heard my phone ring. My son had forgotten to tell me that his ‘training’ was actually an inter-college game being played at another location about 45 minutes away. They had just finished and were heading back to his school where I was waiting. I fumed! I turned on my self righteous, passive aggressive mothering mode and willed with all my might that he would feel my anger emanating across the distance between us. I gave him a earful over the phone about needing to be more thoughtful about his long-suffering mother!. And then I hung up on him knowing fully well that he would be anxious about the welcome he would receive when he saw me.
Our lives tell the truth of what we believe about God. – Sarah Bessey
As I sat there feeling frustrated with his poor communication skills and perceived thoughtlessness, I remembered that he was 14 years old. I remembered that I had not had a conversation with him about the details he needed to communicate to me in situations like this. I remembered that he was not doing this to spite me or frustrate me. I remembered that he was just a boy learning how to juggle sport, school and life. I remembered also that I was his mother and the way I handled this situation would shape his view of parenting and thus God.
I also remembered the times when I was a little girl. I remembered the cold treatment I got from my mum (bless her soul, I love her dearly) each time I did something wrong. No matter how sorry I was or how many times I apologized she would maintain a distant and cold front until she was convinced that I had learned my lesson. Sometimes, this would take days. I remembered that as an adult, each time I messed up, I ran from God. I would crawl back sheepishly after days of hiding, full of chagrin and regret, praying, hoping and begging that He would forgive me just one more time. My picture of God was the picture my mum painted of Him as my parent.
As I sat there in the car with these realizations dawning on me, I remembered the picture God had redrawn for me in recent years, of Him as a loving, patient Father who only wanted the best for me and for me to never be afraid to run back into His waiting arms. I made a choice. I drove down to the nearby BP Station and bought my son a chocolate brownie and an apple turnover. I knew he’d be hungry (I was hungry too!). When he hopped into the car, I handed him the brown paper bag and had the much needed conversation with him about communicating important details the next time he had to stay after school.
I could feel my son’s relief that he didn’t get a further grilling. His delight at being able to put food in his tummy after two games of volleyball was gratifying! As I drove the long road home in the easing evening traffic, with the beautiful sunny day fading into the horizon, I wondered if he would someday remember this experience and realize what a wonderful mother I was!. And then I found myself wishing, praying and hoping that even if he didn’t remember this, that each time he messed up he could approach God in complete confidence, knowing that He would be waiting for him with a chocolate brownie and an apple turnover.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8