"For we can never too earnestly press upon ourselves the conviction that education is not what we teach our children in detached periods of time, when we are giving them special instruction or explaining to them revealed truths, but rather what we teach them by the silent, but ever-influencing language of our general example." --Susan Huntington
My example in the home has the ability to build up or tear down. What I model for my children has the potential to grow them in maturity, as well as tempt them to sin. This power of a mother's influence is a serious truth. One that we cannot deny, refuse or ignore.
If you are like me, this truth can tempt you to despair because often you feel like a human cockroach. You blow it time and again.
"The mother who recommends religion, in her formal instructions to her children, as a thing of the first importance, while, in her own case, it is habitually driven into a corner;
who urges on her children the supreme desirableness of laying up treasures in heaven,
while her dearest ones are evidenced, by her conduct,
to be on earth;
who insists on the excellence and importance of meekness, patience, and charity,
while she is no way remarkable for the exercises of these graces herself;
who descants on the vanity of the world,
while she is seen to be a slave to its opinions and fashions;
can hardly expect much success from her labors."
Thankfully, new days come with new mercies. Yet we may find ourselves, yet again, doing that very thing we hate, or omitting things we know we shouldn't.
None of us want to be that hypocrite before our family. None of us want to tear down our house with our hands, piece by piece.
I weep over my shortcomings, often. Nighttime seems to be the worst as I recall this or that I did/didn't do or could have, yet didn't.
And while all of us must confess to God, and yes, acknowledge to our children how we have failed or sinned against them in some way, shouldn't this bring into clearer focus, our dependence on God to cover us? The God of all consolation loves us, pities us, and He honors a loving and trusting soul. And oh, how we must trust him! He alone is able to prevent our own influence on the minds and hearts of our children, as well as grant them the grace and love to forgive. (I'm so thankful that children are very forgiving people.) This should give us great courage to press on and also hope in Christ to will and work for His good pleasure.
He is faithful when we are not. He never yields to lazy parenting and he never grows tired or weak.
God can and does, effectually overrule all things, including a mother's sin. This does not weaken my obligation and responsibility toward my children in the least. It would be arrogant and destructive for me to expect that God would deviate from the means by which he has said he will work (Prov. 22:6). But it should make us thankful. And it should produce humility to know that no matter how hard you work, you will fail, and that God never does.
All of our sinfulness, this monster cockroach in our beings, keeps us in constant exercise against the world, our flesh and the powers of darkness. This exercise is at the foot of the cross of Christ, falling down and telling Him the worst of it...just how bad we really are (He already knows). He sweetly invites us that labor and are heavy laden with cares...to rest in Him.
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