I read this article today by Lysa Terquest, and was amazed at how much this sounds like my Deborah. She has always been the kid we couldn't persuade, bully or beg to do something when she refused. She is strong-willed and determined to an amazing degree. I really needed to read this and be reminded that I am not raising her for my convenience. I am raising her to be someone who follows God and listens to His voice.
I Don't Want To Raise A Good Child
by Lysa TerKeurst
My daughter, Hope, is a senior this year. And she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the “normal” box. A lot out of the box actually.
She withdrew from traditional school. Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in on-line college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend the month of January serving in Nicaragua doing missions.
This didn’t surprise me really. Because Hope has always liked charting her own course.
When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world’s worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained. And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.
One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch. All of their kids sat quietly eating cheerios in their strollers. They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their snot.
She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller. So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free. She stripped off all her clothes. She ran across the food court. And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.
Really nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain. Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.
I cried all the way home.
Not because of what she’d done that day. But rather because of how she was everyday. So determined. So independent. So insistent.
I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller. One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was. One that made me look good.
But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers. So, over the years, I changed my prayer. ”God help me to raise Hope to be who you want her to be.” Emphasis on, “God HELP ME!”
I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.
Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child. God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.
I don’t know what mama needs to hear this today. But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with 3 simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:
1. Don’t take too much credit for their good.
2. Don’t take too much credit for their bad.
3. Don’t try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult.
And all the mamas of fountain dancing children said, “Amen!”