"God sends children for another purpose than merely to keep up the race--
To enlarge our hearts; and to make us unselfish and full of kindly sympathies and affections; to give our souls higher aims; and to bring round our firesides bright faces, happy smiles, and loving tender hearts. My soul blesses the great Father every day, that he has gladdened the earth with little children." ---Mary Howitt
Children are a blessing from the Lord. We know this to be true. But not just because they are gifts from a loving Father who desires to display His character through the blessing of these little creatures. Not just because we cradle them in our arms and sing the praises of a Creator whose fingers can work such intricate magic and splendor as to knit such a being together inside us (or, wonder of wonders, inside another but given to us.) What love from such a God as ours! But, it is even more.
For we are not perfect who receive such exquisite gifts. Far from. We have a desire for the things of God and seek to live lives which bring Him glory, but we see our failures and shortfalls in sharp relief against the holiness of God. Our patience falls far short of the awesome and wonderful longsuffering of our Lord. Our words, which should be pleasant as honeycomb [Prov. 16:24], sweet and healing to the hearer are often abrasive and reckless, piercing like a sword instead [Prov. 12:18]. Our hearts, which should be overflowing with thankfulness for the abundance of the Lord, the restored heart within us, the promise of salvation, the hope of eternity in the sweet presence of our Lord and Savior. That heart, instead, so often full of black selfishness, deceit, and longing for that which is of this world. We fall short, sinners as we are.
These sweet blessings called children aid us in our desire to be Christ-like. Oh, not of their own understanding, for they as sinners too. But of the perfect, sovereign will of God. He knows what refining we need. He knows the dross which must be consumed. He is all too familiar with our shortcomings.
For how can our lack of patience not be improved when we must correct a child for the same infraction seemingly several hundred times in one day? Realizing we must do so as our Heavenly Father corrects us, with all compassion and love. How can our words not become sweeter when we see the effects of the reckless sword strokes on the faces of those we must instruct? For the words of the Lord are sweeter than honey and we are edified and built up by them. How can our hearts not be soothed of their selfish desires when, for the third time I am up in the wee, dark hours of the night with a baby who needs nothing but me? For when I call on the Lord, night or day, He hears my call with all swiftness, eager to soothe my fears. For I need nothing but Him.
Oh, that I would realize every interaction I have with my children is an opportunity to magnify my Lord. That I might be relieved of the wretched dross that weighs me down. That I might see myself closer on the road to Christ than I was yesterday. God be praised for the children whose lives make up many of the pavers on my sanctification road. May I continue, one foot in front of the other, with a joyful song in my heart.
Happy Mother's Day.