I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think it’s nearly impossible for us to give our kids all the things they need. I often wonder, “Did I give them enough hugs today? Did I tell them I love them today? Did my actions show them I love them today?” The list goes on and on. As parents, we can feel overwhelmed, concerned that we aren’t doing enough, providing enough, or simply being enough for our kids.
When those feelings of failure start to creep in, I need to remind myself of one thing: I can trust that God loves my kids more than I ever can. Why wouldn’t the God who created the universe and everything in it be able to love my kids more than I do?
Sometimes we think we have to “be all” and “do all” to make sure our kids know just how much we love them. But if we fall into that trap, we’ll quickly become exhausted doing all the activities, buying them the latest toys, and giving them the undivided attention they so deserve. It’s impossible, really. Besides, when we try to fill in all the gaps ourselves, we leave no room for God to come in and provide for our kids as well.
God doesn’t expect us to be superhero parents to our kids, and we shouldn’t place that expectation on ourselves either.
Recently, our church youth group was selling donuts to raise money for an upcoming missions trip. Who doesn’t love a good donut! When my kids saw the donut display, they begged me to buy a box. But there was one problem—I had forgotten about the fundraiser and didn’t have any cash with me. My kids were disappointed as we walked off to Sunday school.
Feelings of guilt began to wash over me. “How could I have forgotten about the fundraiser? If only I were a better mom, I would have remembered, and my kids would have been happier.” What mom doesn’t want to buy donuts for her kids? To make matters worse, I had to stay late after church that day for a meeting and had forgotten to bring snacks. “I’ve got to try harder next time,” I thought to myself.
As we were standing in line to check in to Sunday school, another boy walked up to his mom in front of us and said, “Mom, someone just handed me this box of donuts.” Amazed by the act of generosity, she told him she had already bought four boxes, so they didn’t need any more. She suggested he turn around and give his box to my kids. (There is nothing like seeing someone receive a generous act, only to turn around and give that gift away!) I assured her that we didn’t need any and that she could keep the box, but she insisted.
In that moment I felt God whisper to my spirit, “See how much I love my children? I want to bless them.” I was reminded that it wasn’t up to me alone to make sure my kids felt loved and cared for. Just as I trust and rely on God for my own life, I need to let him show up for my kids too. When I stop trying to provide for all their needs myself, I give God room to show them just how much He loves them and wants to be a part of their lives.
And that is something they can rely on even when I’m not around.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is who we are!” (1 John 3:1).