Friday, September 13, 2013

Survey Says...Family Over Jesus - Duh!

In a recent Barna survey62% of women said their most important role in life is as a mother or parent. Jesus came next: 13% of Christian women believe their most important role in life is as a follower of Christ. Why does that shock us? After all, the bible tells us who we are - selfish, self seeking and prone to wander. For me, this survey just serves to confirm what I know as a parent, and probably what you all know if you have children. I have put great stock in my "mom/parent" identity.

How often have I introduced myself as my son's mom? How much of my conversation revolved around my parenting, my child, his schedule? If you have children, chances are everyone around you has kids - meaning you hang with others who have the same season of life experiences you do. The result is, your day to day world revolves around children and their needs, and friends with children and their needs. All of this makes perfect sense to me. Moms are singularly focused on their kids. As moms, we live inside the tension of knowing this focus is out of whack, yet living in a non-stop cycle of caring for our children.

Why bring this up? Why is all of this worth talking about? Can we change? What hope is there for us? Because the truth is, if I had it do all over again, I'm not so sure I would or could do it any differently. I am not saying clinging to your children is OK. I'm just acknowledging the fact that it is very difficult not to, when your day in and day out every waking moment is spent nurturing and training and teaching your children. We don't have to maneuver through a lot of mental gymnastics to figure out what the result of all this is. Our children have become our idols. We have placed all of our hope in a faulty basket - our sinful kids. If they turn out "good" I will have proven my worth and "paid my way" so to speak. All those years of pouring into them have paid off and I've done my job well. But, here is the problem:

If we cling to the deception that our kids prove our worth, we will be crushed, and so will they.

Let me unpack that a bit.

  • Our worth is found in Christ alone. Counting on a person (a child) to give us value is empty - the created does not give value to the created. Only the Creator can give value to the created.
  • Saddling our kids with the burden of having to be good enough to prove we are good (parents, etc.) will crush them. Proving our worthiness is not in their job description, and they can never be good enough to prove our worth - that's why it will crush them. They can't do it.
  • When we realize that our worth has been severely damaged by their "bad" behavior, it will crush us. When we come to find out that they are "real people", sinners just like us, we are devastated because we realize our reputation is at stake and our value and worth as gone down. We are shaken to the very core. Even now, most of us are still clinging to the hope that they will "pull through" - that they will finish that college degree, find that Christian spouse, stay pure until marriage and go to church regularly. Then, we will be satisfied. Our worth will have been proven. 

If you are still with me (because I know all this is pretty dreary), I want to give you good news by first asking a few questions:

Do we believe that God is not aware of all if this?
Does God shake a pointing finger at moms, waiting for them to shape up and start focusing on Jesus?
Did Christ die for everything else BUT the idolatry of our children?
Do we think we are the first moms ever to have an unhealthy focus on our children?

The truth is that none of this catches God by surprise, he is not shaking his finger at us. Listen to this unbelievable good news: 

In the midst of idolizing your kids, God loves you.

He knows it's not healthy for you, so he may gently pry your white knuckles from the grasp of your children's lives. However, his love for you has never faltered and will never fade away. 

You see, the gospel frees us to be good mom, bad mom and/or idolizing mom, because who we really are is forgiven and loved in the midst of it all.

God loves you with an everlasting love that makes it's stand on the cross of Calvary not your crown of glory. His love for you does not depend on your ability to get it all together and stop idolizing your kids. Will all of you be better off if you do? Possibly. But the love of Christ and his grace for you does not wane. His friendship, his nearness and his delight in you cannot be halted! It is a full force love that you can do nothing to stop - thankfully!

Looking for our identity in parenting is disappointing and fleeting. Knowing our identity is in Christ alone brings hope right now in the daily grind of our lives, and, the assurance of eternity with him.


  1. LOVE THIS. so much. "You see, the gospel frees us to be good mom, bad mom and/or idolizing mom, because who we really are is forgiven and loved in the midst of it all." ummmmm good stuff.

    1. Thanks Macie! God help me to believe it's true :)

      Blessings friend,

  2. I stand guilty as charged.

    Idolatry is what we do. With me, it has been my kids for the last 30 years.

    Thanks, Lori.

    1. The good news is God has set you free. We are guilty as charged, we can agree with the enemy when he accuses. But that is not the end. We then say to our enemy, although what you say is true, Jesus has paid for it all. All offenses he gladly endured so that I would not have to. He stood condemned in my place and I am now free. Be silent then, accuser, you have no more jurisdiction here!

      Blessings friend,