Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, July 14, 2008

Room for Mistakes

I've been wondering lately how one teaches one's children about mistakes we make and about the life God wants for us. With my oldest being just shy of 4, I obviously don't have this issue yet but it weighs heavily on my mind a lot. On a limited level, I can speak to my daughter about God's desire for our lives but in actuality, she will not understand the type of things I really worry about, the fears and anxieties that rage through my mind as I remember parts of my life and how it used to be. She is still too young. I want to help her understand as soon as she is able to but at the same time, some of the lessons she needs to learn she will learn on her own and not until she's much older. And sometimes, that scares me.

I think about a piece from the book I've been writing and what it means to me to feel the way I proclaim within these words:

"I sometimes catch sight of another life, shadows and fragments staining the walls of my mind, reminding me who I used to be and how far God has brought me as His servant. In my mind, there are so many unanswered questions and reasons I will never understand for the way I was, why I couldn’t have been better, how obscure my path had been. But now, in some unforeseen act of God’s breath and hand upon my shoulder, I find myself here, where I am now, in this life. I am reminded only of those shapes and flickers of gray light climbing the walls of that life, pointing the direction of my path up; up to Him, into His arms so He could show me the truth, show me my choices and what to do. And the rest of that life has faded away somewhere along this path to Him."

Without some of the trials I went through and the mistakes I made, I'm not sure that I would have gotten to a point of really seeking God in my life the way I do now. Even though I grew up Catholic and with a general knowledge that God existed and that He loved me, I never really felt the way I do now...with this hunger to know Him more, a desire to really learn and live my Catholic faith and the strength to go through the struggle to do so. I have come to know that if we are seeking Him with our hearts God blesses our lives regardless of the choices we make. We may not always do what He wants us to do but He blesses us anyway. I think about this especially concerning how I came to be a mommy. And I am thankful for the blessings of the life that resulted from that part of my past. I think that perhaps if I had been following Him from the start, I may have been blessed even more and sometimes I am sad when I think about that; about the fact that He has plans for me and that I don't always follow them. But ultimately, I think that God allows room for the mistakes we make.

So do I teach my children about God's blessing us despite the mistakes we make? Do I teach them about our choices and about free will? How do I keep in check my burning desire to shield them from everything and not allow them the chance to make mistakes that they can learn from? I know in my heart that this could possibly stunt their growth and might even inhibit their opportunities to find God's place in their lives. But it's hard for me, knowing how some mistakes caused me so much pain, to think that they might make the same mistakes and go through similar trials. Do I use the lessons I learn from the mistakes I make even now and help them to understand through that?

My daughter is only 4 and my son is only 2, my baby just 6 months. So I have time. I guess that I can start with the small things and as they grow older, help them with the decisions they face as God places it on my heart to do so. I can't keep them from everything, safely floating through life in a bubble or locked away in a tower. I know this. I can, however, pray to my Father that He will help me to teach them about His love and that He will help them make good decisions and to avoid bad mistakes when I am unable to help them myself. And I can also pray that He will allow ample room for the mistakes they are destined to make as flawed human beings.

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