“I’m for sure I’ve already ruined her.”
I said this to two friends as we sat outside a Mexican restaurant one Friday night putting off going home to start bedtime routines. Our kids ran up and down the sidewalk and we tried to get in our last stories of the night.
“But you know what?” a friend answered back, “We’re really not big enough to ruin our kids. God is so much bigger.”
When You Think You’ve Ruined Your Kids
Being a mom was easy until my daughter turned three. Then she got a will, an opinion, and a memory. Everything I said was followed by “Why?”, “I don’t want to!” or “I want it this way!” It became harder not to take my stress of the day out on her. I felt like she was watching my every move to one day grow up and copy me, so there was also pressure to be perfect. I tried hard to walk around joyful, controlled, and patient—until my facade collapsed.
Since starting these preschool years, I’ve gone to bed at night feeling more guilt than grace.
I replay my responses to the events and conversations of the day and analyze what I should have said and done differently. “What if’s?” ring through my mind as I imagine how my daughter may have internalized my mistakes for the worst.
When my friend said those words to me, “God is so much bigger,” immediate relief escaped from my body from built-up tension. I knew she was right, and hearing her words made them even more true. Who am I to think that my every word and action has life-altering consequences for my girls? Or that anything good I do guarantees success? I gave myself too much credit and God not enough.
As I think about different moms in the Bible I am comforted that there are several who messed-up big-time. For example, let’s look at Rebekah. Rebekah was the wife of Issac. Issac, of course, was the son of Abraham. Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, Esau and Jacob.
To start off, Rebekah showed favoritism towards Jacob. This favoritism led to lying and deceitfulness. Rebekah commanded Jacob to dress-up like Esau and pretend to be him in Isaac’s presence so that Isaac would bless Jacob instead of Esau (Genesis 27). Even though Esau despised his birthright a few chapters earlier, and the blessing was promised to Jacob before the two sons were even born (Genesis 25:22-23), Rebekah still sinned against God and her sons by taking matters into her own hands.
There were definite consequences for Rebekah’s actions. Esau threatened to kill Jacob, so Jacob had to flee to city 500 miles away, and she never saw him, her favorite son, again. She also had to endure watching Esau marry Hittite women (v. 46)
So how is Rebekah’s story filled with such sin and heartbreak encouraging to us moms today?
Nothing can mess-up God’s sovereign will and perfect plan!
Yes, there were consequences for Rebekah. And yes, Esau and Jacob probably suffered emotionally from their mother’s favoritism and deceit. But God’s plan still prevailed!
It was always God’s plan for Jacob to get the birthright and blessing, just not through Rebekah’s lying and deceit, because it was through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that Jesus was eventually born.
Jesus is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us!
One Person who we have and Rebekah didn’t have is Jesus! 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” When Jesus died on the Cross for our sins and rose from the grave, we no longer had to repay Him for sin. All of our sin, past, present, and future, was forgiven. Even though there are still natural consequences for sin in our lives, the consequences are not a “payment.”
When we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful to not only forgive us but to also cleanse us, and He can cleanse your children from the effects your sin has on their lives.
A Prayer of Confession and Need
Lord, I confess to you my sins as a mom. I confess to you conscious sin and sin that I do not even realize I’m doing. Please forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Please fill in the gaps for my girl when I fail as a mom. Be whatever she needs that I am not and cannot give her. Please protect her. I pray that my brokenness doesn’t have lifelong consequences for my girl, but instead it points her to you. Lord, I pray that your will be done. Amen.