When people hear that I am a trained marriage and family therapist, they usually corner me at dinner parties, asking my advice on fixing either their child or spouse. They suppose I am uniquely equipped because of my training. In some ways, they are correct: I teach marriage and parenting courses, I can devise a chore chart in my sleep or train a parent or spouse in active listening. But, in other ways they are far more equipped than I am, and just don’t know it yet. Heading into my 16thyear of marriage, that produced 5 wildly different children, I’ve come to realize, good parenting takes a different kind of expertise.
With each child my husband and I welcomed, I became increasingly aware that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. The little I think I know, I am ill-equipped to carry out. My children are so unique, so rapidly changing and growing; I spend much more time on my knees than I do skimming my psychology books. The more time I spend pleading with God, for insight, for wisdom and patience, the more I see He is much less interested in modifying my children’s behaviors, and much more interested in transforming their hearts, alongside mine.
Through these times of prayer, God has impressed upon me my unique gifting and calling as their mother. It is not my schooling that equips me for this task, but the great Helper, the Holy Spirit in me. Through the Spirit, I have a unique vantage point to see my children, to bless them and call out their giftings. God made these children for me and I for them. The same is true for every mother reading this article: whether your children have come to you through adoption or birth, you have the right credentials, God hand-picked you for this job. You have insight into your child that was bestowed by God and is not accessible to their teachers or even grandparents. You may not know it yet, you may spend hours on your knees before you see it, but it is there.
God gives generously to all who ask for His wisdom and when you ask Him to show you your child’s strengths and weaknesses He will open your eyes to them. He will delight you with their fantastic quirks; He will show you their tender spots. He will readily show you the pitfalls, the weaknesses, the creativity and temptations. To all who seek, find.
In a day and age when we are assaulted from all sides to conform to social norms, the mother’s calling is as unique as it is pivotal. We delight in our child’s differences; we accept them as they come to us, not as we wish them to be. In addition to may daily prayers, I echo Numbers 6, Moses’ blessing, over my children nightly before they go to sleep. I don’t even fully know what I’m praying when I place my hand on their warm, soft heads, or the power and majesty of what I am claiming, of what I am calling down upon them. I don’t need to know. I only know that I am their mother, and that makes me the right woman for the job.