Friday, February 18, 2011

The Futility of Wrong Hopes

Mrs. Beaver:

We're going through a hope-shattering time in our family. That is if I'm putting my hope in my children or my circumstances. I know this well because I've put my hope in my children for most of the 20+ years I've been a parent.

Even deeper than my thoughts--somewhere soul deep and hardly recognizeable (to me at least)--is the dream that I will have perfectly-behaved children or least kids who avoid any "big" sins and are then deeply repentant when they do wrong. I have a dream that parenting will be fairly easy--even the parenting of our older adopted kiddos who have come to us so very broken as a result of torn-apart families that are no fault of their own.

I been oh-too prone to get angry if things haven't followed my plan for family life. My anger, for the most part, has been a quiet, seething sort of beast which is fed by thoughts like, "I deserve better!"the truth is: I don't deserve better. I deserve eternal suffering because I, too, am a sinner.

Both my irritation and my tendancy to be critical are fed by the thoughts like, "How could you be so stupid?" (We're not allowed to say that word in our house, but I've sure thought it!)  and "How could you do this" and "How could you make this choice again?!?"

If I'm thinking biblically, I know there is no room for this haughty irritation (Eccl. 7:8b,9) when I, too, am a sinner. In order for it to be bilical, my response to the sin of my children must be compassionate humility.

My long-trusted sources of hope have failed me. I want another source for my hope. I'm tired of hoping in people and circumstances, only to ride a roller coaster of emotion as I'm lifted up on the wings of my hope or crushed by it.

I'm ready to hope in God. "My hope is in Thee" (Ps. 39:7b) I don't fully understand yet how to do this, but I've asked my King to teach me. (Jn. 14:26)

This passage from The Valley of Vision (pg. 335) probably holds at least part of the answer:
"O my Saviour,
Make it my chiefest joy to study thee
   meditate on thee,
   gaze on thee,
   sit like Mary at thy feet
   lean like John on thy breast
   appeal like Peter to thy love,
   count like Paul all things dung."

I want my hope to be in God. He, and, He alone, is worthy of my hope. He and, He alone, can provide joy in the face of any pain or in the midst of any circumstance. I want my "chiefest joy" to be Jesus!

If my hope is in God, I know that He will give me a lavish love for my children, no matter what they've done. He will make it possible for me to demonstrate a rich, luxurious forgiveness that covers the sin like a thick blanket (Proverbs 10:12, 17:9). He will thaw my small, tight-pinched, icy heart that's been so focused on me and cause it to grow. My heart will little-by-little become more like His heart. My kindness, modeled on His kindness, will stand a better chance of drawing my children in to my rescuing Saviour's arms. And that is what I want most of all!


the johnson crew said...

thank you so much for being so honest. i can completely related. praying for you and your family.

Our Family said...

Thanks, so much, Janelle!

WhiteStone said...

My "mother's heart" always desires the best for my children. Unfortunately my children are sinners (just as I) and will never be the perfect Christian (which I myself have not been able to attain to). And so I do my best, erring still, and leave them at the foot of the Cross, knowing that God watches over them and will work in them as He wills. In the meantime I love them with all my heart! And pray a lot!

Our Family said...

So well put, WhiteStone! You've been so articulate in summing up what this slow learner is trying to etch on her heart that she might better honor her beloved God. I'm co glad you added your wisdom.


Jamie and Marcos said...

God's word just in time as I struggle with anxious thoughts of my own with motives unlike my King. Thank you Denise...always. Thank you God for lavishing wisdom and forgiveness all at once

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for that, I needed that reminder at the end of my seemingly endless week.
Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.