Last night I took this picture of Evelyn.
I cried and I woke up so sad.
I have to tell you guys something, when I was 16 I became a mother and man I was a terrible one.
Not that I’m a perfect one now but I have Jesus now who helpes me.
No really… you see I didn’t underhand how vital it was to allow a child to be that, a child. To allow my daughter to make mistakes, to understand that my child isn’t meant to make me look good. She got the worst of me. I remember her wanting to snuggle and I was to busy watching tv. Yes, I was that mom. I remember her wanting attention but I was to busy trying to fix my husband.
One day, she grew up and I had missed it. She no longer wanted to hug me, didn’t want me to put her to bed and didn’t want to tell me what was wrong when she was sad. That broke me and by then she was 5. When she was sad she would shut down completely and not talk to anyone and when I asked she said politely “nothing”. There was no trust at all.
One night I remember I was praying and I just broke down and asked God for wisdom and forgiveness for my ignorance and my way of parenting with such a stone firm hand. After crying my heart out I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to ask for forgiveness. To ask my daughter to forgive me and that’s exactly what I did.
Many times as parents we think we are older, we are bigger and we don’t owe our kids anything. Except that’s not true, scripture tells us that if we have offended anyone to apologize to fix it first before coming to the father. Why do we feel that we owe everyone that apology except our children? We are not bullies we are parents modeling Jesus and with that comes humility and the heart to apologize when we’ve wronged and the eyes to see when we are wrong.
So I stood there on my knees, at eye level with my 5-year-old Evelyn and I cold feel my eyes watering and there was a huge knot in my throat not allowing me to speak, the words wouldn’t come out because if they did I felt I would cry uncontrollably. So I closed my eyes and I prayed in my head and I said it:
“Evelyn, I love you with all my heart. I want you to know that I’m so proud of the little girl you are. I need you to understand that you are a blessing and you are my biggest accomplishment but I want you to also know that I messed up. That we are all sinners and as I get older I realize parents are probably the biggest ones in need of Jesus and I’ve sinned against you. I am sorry. I need jesus in my heart baby and I messed up and I want you to know that I know God has changed my heart but I can see that I’ve hurt you. God gave you parents so they can protect you, so you can trust all to them and you can come to when you’re in pain but you don’t do that and I understand why. I am so sorry. Evelyn please forgive me and let mama love you”.
Do you want to know what she said?
” mama I love you, you’re the best mom and I forgive you” .
It was like someone shot an arrow through my chest. This is why God wants us to be like a child.
After all I did and after all I didn’t do she saw me as the best mom when I knew I wasn’t.
It took a good year for me to break that wall between us and I had to learn to lean on Jesus. I learned to put things away and to live in the now of parenting. To take the time to build trust and love with each one of my children because we have this idea that just because they are our children there is automatically a relationship. No. Children get upset too, they hurt too, they become distant after so much neglect, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. They have such big hearts and we as parents sometimes shrink them. I don’t want to keep looking back and wishing I had changed. I don’t want to keep doing just ok, I want to do what God has called me to do. I want to give my best. I don’t want to keep wishing I had done something else. I want to be present now. I want to do my best now. I know that as I get older I will have more wisdom and look back on what I could have done but I want that to be because I’ve grown in Christ not because I was to selfish and lazy to do what I know I should have done.
We have such a huge responsibility and I was able to mend my trust and love with my daughter but sadly not many parents see what I did. Not many parents see it and when they do their children have become far from them and their hearts hurt so much they don’t want mom and dad anymore.
I urge you to take the time to be with each one of your children, put your phone down. Turn off the tv and give your children the parents they deserve. We are not perfect but man can we make better choices! Especially when we have the Holy Spirit to guide us.
My daughter is 9 now and she randomly comes to me and hugs me and stays in my arms, she tells me her jokes. She shares with me her new ideas for a book, when she’s sad she comes to me to share her heart and we pray together. She trusts me. And you know what? I owe it all to Jesus who gave me a new heart, new eyes and a new relationship with my daughter.
So when I took that picture I cried because she told me, ” mama, can you take a picture of me so you can always remember me as a little child with my silly faces?”.
I smile, took the picture and snuggled her while we shared a book.
Thank you Jesus for the eyes to see where I was wrong and how to fix it. Lord help me everyday to not miss the opportunity to teach my children who you are and to show them by my actions and how I parent them. Thank you Jesus.