Monday, July 12, 2010

Letting the Master Gardener Work

At the end of my last post, I wrote briefly about my relationship with my daughter. I have at times brought great pain to my daughter's heart. Even though it may not have been my intention at the time, or if I did intend to impress I didn't intend to crush, or even if I was completely oblivious to how my behavior was affecting her at the time, I hurt her. I did.

Now, as a mother, when I see my daughter hurting, I want to fix it. I want to rush in and be the hero and make everything better. But this time that can't happen.

It was my prideful belief that *I* was the one responsible for shaping my daughter's life that got us in this mess in the first place. It was my harsh over-correction, my anxious continual instruction, my insistence on grace and forgiveness from her for my short-comings while trying to "help" her grow up perfect, without all those pesky character flaws of mine- my, oh my- *I* created this mess in the first place.

My flesh wants to rush in and insist that everything be fixed RIGHT NOW. I should be forgiven and she should be healed and thriving instantly because I want it to be that way. As Queen sang, "I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now."

I have read the words of other daughters where they spoke of having experienced similar desperation from their mothers when the moms were confronted with painful realities. Instead of just repenting, the moms wanted an instant and glorious fix. When that didn't happen, the temptation to go overboard and guilt daughter into making mom feel better about it all is just too much for some to resist.

Ouch. I see where those mothers are coming from, and why the guilt sends them from confession and repentance (a good place) over to self-pity and shame(a bad place). Mom is still walking in the flesh, still trying to make things perfect by what she says or does. When (good) repentance didn't produce the instant miracle mom wanted, she slipped over into trying to manipulate such an outcome. At least that is my temptation.

Only by the grace of God have I managed to escape that trap this time! For today, at least, I am safe. I am not going to meddle in God's work in my adult daughter's life. I am just going to keep loving her as she is right now- whether she makes wise choices, merely okay choices or truly rotten choices. I am not the Good Shepherd.

I have more to say, but I am out of time. Enjoy this link, which says so much of what I am trying to say here anyway. I think all parents should read this, even though it is not really written about parentins. If the shoe fits...

Parable of the Fig Tree post by Jonathan Stepp


  1. I loved the truth that it is the master gardener that makes us (my children too) fruitful! It's not my job, and I couldn't do it anyway.

    What peace there is in resting and trusting Jesus to make it all good in his time. n_n

  2. When I was in school studying psychology and sociology, I learned a couple things that have stood me in good stead as a parent: every child grows to adulthood with scars, every single one. It is an unavoidable fact of life; it is the fact that pretty much defines life--the struggle to grow. It is also universal that every child gets screwed up by their mothers. It is not an empty cliche that every cartoon and movie shrink sings to their patient in that Viennese accent "zo, tell me about your muzzer".

    When I found myself having not been the parent I wanted to be, either in the moment or looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I still regret having been the cause of my children's scars and would give a lot to be able to take it all back, but it is a lot easier to forgive myself for what I have done knowing that my kids were born doomed to reality, knowing that NO MATTER WHAT I DID, it would not have been good enough to let them grow up mother-scar-free because everyone has scars from mothers.

    it's not, of course, a get-out-of-jail-free card but it helps me let go of what I did, let it be past, and let me be able to enjoy who my kids are in spite of (and sometimes because of) me.

    Much Love, S

  3. Thank you for being willing to face it honestly! The best thing for us to heal is space. :) But I realize that's the hardest thing for you to do. :( Oh help. I sure wish there was an easier way!