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Other periods in history have had their challenges, no doubt. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not pining to parent in the Middle Ages or anything. But it is certain that one of the parenting challenges of the time we live in (in this culture at least) is the dizzying number of choices and the staggering expectations (both external and self-imposed) to produce really amazing children. And you don’t have to be a homeschool mom to feel the pressure.
Yesterday I read Psalm 25 and found it just what I needed.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
[Lord, I confess … I’m afraid of being put to shame. What if I mess it all up? What if I invest all these years … and then the world just laughs?]
Make me to know your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
[I’m waiting on you, Lord. Well, I’m trying to wait on you. Help me to wait on you, to look to you for wisdom and not to the hundreds of other places I’m tempted to run. I want to be a good teacher. And I want to learn from the best.]
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
[Yes, Lord, please do wipe away the sins of my youth. And the sins of this week, too, please. And help me to remember that you cleanse me of these sins to demonstrate something about yourself – your steadfast love and your goodness.]
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
[There is it right there. That’s the characteristic I most need in order to be a great mom. Humility. Not intelligence. Not diligence. Not creativity. Humility. He instructs sinners. I just need to know that I am one.]
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For your namesake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who is the man who fears the Lord?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
[I want that, Lord. I want to abide in that well-being. I want my offspring to inherit your eternal country. Help me to fear you, Lord; instruct me in the way I should choose.]
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes know to them his covenant.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
For he will pluck my feet out of the net.
[And there seem so many nets. Fear of man. Resentment towards those who make demands on my time. Bitterness towards the trials you bring for my good and sanctification. Loosing sight of the eternal goal and the purpose for which I was created. Pluck me out.]
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
[Lord, it’s so messy. There are problems on the outside. But there are also problems that come from inside me. And sometimes the biggest problem is distinguishing between them! Please would you comfort me in those trials that you bring from without, reveal and forgive those that arise out of my own heart?]
Consider how many are my foes
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
[That’s it, Lord! That’s what it looks like not to be put to shame! It looks like being preserved in integrity and uprightness. Not being put to shame doesn’t mean that the world stands up and applauds. It means that the world sees that my God preserves his people from falling away. Deliverance isn’t necessarily a rescue from external circumstances, but it is you guarding and delivering my soul as I pass through them!]
Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
[Help me to remember, Lord. Even what’s happening to me isn’t really about me. It’s about carrying out your plan, throughout all of time, to redeem and rescue your people, for the glory of your name. Humble me, Lord, preserve me, and teach me.]