A year or so ago, I came across a book by Rachael Carman called How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for your Children. I loved it. This homeschooling mom of seven had so much insight to share, and she shared it with tender humor and such clear love for her kiddos. I kept thinking I wanted to plan a mom's tea and use her acronym as a springboard for a devotional/discussion time, but I never did it. Something about busyness and weariness and being terrified of speaking in front of groups.
The section of her book that most pierced my heart was the 'A' chapter. Acceptance. She talked about accepting our children as gifts - about speaking of them as treasures, about responding with joy when the Lord fills our wombs with His priceless creations. But, beyond the general acceptance of our children as gifts from the Lord (and the never referring to an unexpected blessing as an 'oops!'), she also wrote about accepting the unique design of our individual children. It seems obvious; we would never reject our children, would we? But it spoke profoundly to me.
If you are anything like me, you dreamed of being a mom. And you thought your children would emerge from the womb sweet, compliant, utterly delightful, and very much like yourself in personality. Don't get me wrong. There are many aspects of my flawed personality that I hoped my husband's chromosomes would overpower. But, I did not imagine they would be so completely different than me in personality and will. I also think I forgot that every new baby is born into sin. :)
I have one sweet daughter who is so different from her mama. She is not a quiet people-pleaser. She is not naturally prone to give others the right-of-way. She is strong and brash, and feisty. She is more rough-and-tumble than gentle and calm (though in some contexts she is a very tender nurturer). There are many facets of every personality, but I have to admit, there are times when I have wondered (mid-battle, when those particular traits rear strong) how on earth this wonderful, wily child is actually flesh of my flesh. And I have begged the Lord to change her.
Rachael's book convicted my heart. God did not err when He knit the complex personality of my little girl. He didn't mess up. He created her with a purpose. A plan. And all of those traits that I struggle to tame and to accept are a part of His perfect plan for her little life.
So, I had to pray. I had to acknowledge before God that I had sinned by wishing He had made His child differently. I had to open my hands and pray for an ability to accept my little girl whole-heartedly, recognizing that her personality is a gift, and not a curse. She was not just created to teach me patience, but to bring God glory! And she will bring Him glory through the grid of her unique personality.
All of us tend towards sinfulness in certain areas - natural bents toward particular struggles. So, there are times when my daughter's personality leads her to sin in particular ways. But, I am learning that my job and my prayer is not to change her quirks and characteristics; it is to direct her to use them in God-honoring ways instead of following selfish patterns. It's to channel her unique design and teach her to use her bright-eyed determination in His ways.
Oh, my four girls are so different from one another. And they are so different from me! And while I tell them daily that they are my delight and my treasure (and I mean it!) there are times when it is hard to delight in them. I want to take those aspects of who they are that drive me crazy and just tweak 'em a little. But instead I need to thank God for the unique ways He molded their hearts and minds, and pray for wisdom to disciple them in the right ways - to reach their hearts and partner with Him in shaping them for His glory. I have no idea how He will use them - but I believe He will. And as God is teaching me to accept them - just as they are - I am trying to instill that thought in their brains. "God has plans for you. Dream big! How do you think He wants to use you, today?"
I love my girls! But I have much to learn about cultivating their hearts and minds for God's glory as I accept their uniqueness and love them for who they are.