It sounds too grandiose, doesn't it? We feel like saying, "Oh come on, 'plant seeds of greatness?' Let's get real."
And real can be embarrassing. We remember all the times we shush our children or lose control and start yelling.
Now we know better.
Face it: Being a mom is hard
New babies are so cuddly, so adorable we can't imagine we could ever run out of patience.
Ever run out of love.
But we do, sometimes. Almost. Like in the beginning before our newborn finally, finally, starts sleeping all night.
To acknowledge that fleeting thought scares us and we pray for forgiveness, then resolve to do better.
Yet any mom who's honest with herself understands. And we're all about honesty here.
If you feel that way, put your feet up and relax a bit. You're among friends.
Looking for "angel mothers"
Abraham Lincoln said, "All that I am or ever hope to be I owe to my angel mother."
What mom wouldn't want to be remembered that way? But what mom wouldn't blush and say, "Sorry, that title does not fit me!"
So it's well to remind ourselves our children make that judgment. All we can do is show love and live love and use the smarts God gave us--or will give us--if we ask.
The simple prayer of a mom who longs to rear her children rightly touches the heart of God, even if all she can manage is, "Help me, Lord!"
Trust me, you won't sprout angel wings
You'll disappoint yourself, over and over. But as you keep depending on God to empower you you'll find the love in your heart and the patience in your spirit somehow expand.
Over time you'll develop courage to stick to your family standards without apology, simply because you know they're right for your children and your family.
Here's the starting place:
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has not one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends." --John 15:12-13 ESV
Actually, that covers it all. Think how it would alter daily life in your home if each family member tried to live out those words of Jesus.
Wouldn't it feel a bit heavenly?
Is it easy? No
Think of it as a process you'll never quite master, but one worth pursuing because it brings wonderful rewards.
In so many ways moms and dads continually lay down their lives every day.
Children take over our lives. Take up what we used to call "free time." Occupy our thoughts, continually. Consume family income. And on and on.
Yet most parents would not trade even one child for all the gold in Dubai.
When we pray God will enable us to live out love selflessly it transforms our days from the daily grind to the daily gladness.
Don't get me wrong. I did not cheer at the constant cooking and laundry and all the rest. I'm not sure anyone ever has.
But when what we do flows freely out of love it makes worthwhile every day, even the day you have kids barfing upstairs and a puppy with the runs downstairs and then the dishwasher dies.
You stay because your purpose is more lasting than the pleasure of escaping to Starbucks.
Now about those seeds of greatness . . .
We likely know President Lincoln grew up in a log cabin, in humble circumstances. He had none of what we label "advantages," except the one that matters most: He was loved and he knew it.
Jeff Oppenheimer, author of a historical novel about Lincoln, That Nation Might Live, put it this way: