Because I am a stay at home mom, I am with my kids a LOT. This was intentional. My husband and I decided that I would be home to raise them and teach them what we want them to know.
That really has been such a privilege. I get to monitor who my children encounter, what they eat, what they watch on TV, how much screen time they have, etc. I have a lot of control over them because they are with me so much.
Here is the downside: the kids pick up my bad habits right along with the good.
It makes sense, since I’m the one they see all the time. I like to say, being a mother is like holding up a mirror and seeing your character traits reflected back to you, the good ones and the bad ones.
So if we admit that a lot of our kids’ personality traits come from us, then we can also admit that their bad traits might come from us too. You see where I’m going with this: they may have learned their bad attitude from us! Gasp!
And just like our kids are people-in-progress, we are too. God never stops working on us, making us more like Jesus. It’s just sometimes, in the midst of this growth, we must look deep within ourselves and examine our own hearts.
In scripture King David gave a good example of self-examination. Since he was described as “a man after God’s own heart,” I think he’s a pretty good one to study. And in case you’re thinking, “well, he was probably pretty close to perfect,” let me assure you that no, he definitely was not.
David was a wise and brave King of Israel and loved God whole-heartedly, but he committed adultery and murder, and was a detached father who did not discipline his unruly sons. But David was quick to come to God with his mistakes. When he sinned, he asked God this:
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV).
David came to God and asked Him to point out the offensive things in his heart. He did not want his sins to get in the way of his relationship with God. Like David, this is a prayer we need to pray regularly.
Now, I know this is not a fun prayer to pray. But like I wrote about last time, what is in our hearts is what eventually comes out. It is only fitting that we allow God to do a little clean up in our hearts, so we have room for the good stuff. We don’t want our sin to interfere with our relationship with our children.
If God points out something that is offensive to Him, we can ask God to forgive us. I don’t know what you may be dealing with. It could be simple, like you are clinging to negativity. Or maybe its more serious, like King David’s. But whatever it is, sin is sin, and any sin keeps us from getting closer to God. King David was really good at confessing his sin too. Psalm 51 is a beautiful prayer he wrote to ask God to forgive him after he had committed adultery.
“Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night” (Psalm 51:1-3, NLT).
The good news? Every time we pray this with a sincere, honest heart, God forgives us and removes the junk that was cluttering our hearts. Every time. Remember, this is a necessary step in the process to make us more like Jesus, and God longs to bring us more fully into who He intends us to be, into the moms He intends us to be.
Prayer: Dear Father, please search my heart for any “junk” that keeps me from becoming more like Jesus. Forgive me for my sins, and fill my heart with your goodness, love, joy, and patience. Please help these traits to flow from my heart to my children. In Jesus’ name, Amen.