Monday, March 25, 2013

"Mature" Mothering


loveyouforever
Source:  I'll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch/Illustrated by Sheila McGraw

What do you call the time in life when you have children who are in their 20’s and you realize your role as ‘parent’ is never really going to be over because you’ll always have those same mothering instincts yet your job as ‘parent’ has completely shifted?

Parenting Past Puberty?

The Empty Nest… With Apron Strings?

I am a member of that club.  Have been for about five years.  I have truly enjoyed this phase of relationship with my girls.  I do think it's interesting that God chose menopause to be the time that we parent this age group.  I've had so many different emotions and thoughts…

From a heart bursting with pride in my daughters to complete terror about their choices.
 
From feeling so honored that they’ve asked for my input to utter frustration when they decide not to do what I’ve suggested. 

From being completely at peace knowing they are in God’s capable grip to lying wide-eyed in bed at 3:00 am trying to figure out their futures. 

Sigh.

All of this leads me to wonder… How did my mom ever survive?  I don’t remember ever asking her advice when I was in my 20’s, although we talked all the time.  After all, I knew so much more than she did.

I think I could save my kids from so many mistakes and lots of grief if they would only ask me what I think they should do!   But I’m reminded of the way we usually learn things – by our own experience, not generally someone else’s.  Is it wise to learn from someone else’s mistakes and knowledge?  Yes.  Do we always do it, even as adults?  Nope.

I want my girls to experience God and His love for them and His power at work in and around them, not just know it in their heads.

So I’m finding that my primary role right now is this:

Love. 
Encourage. 
Listen. 
Pray.  Pray most of all.

Our pastor reminded me of something that I’ve been thinking about ever since he said it.  So often we focus on circumstances when we’re praying for someone – perhaps especially for our children.  “God, please change this situation they’re in!”  But many times a change in circumstance would actually weaken that loved one and going through it is the thing God uses to strengthen them in their faith and knowledge of God.

So Paul’s prayer is such a good one for ‘mature’ mothers like me to pray for their children:

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.   Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT


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