Before I was blessed with my wonderful son, Caleb, I had all sorts of ideas on how I would raise my children. Usually, these ideas came from experiences of watching others around me parent their children. I often found myself thinking, “When I have children, I will never let them act like that!”
A toddler throwing a tantrum in a store when his mommy refused him candy would be filed away in my mind under the “What Not to do” category. I had high standards for parents, and those around me seemed to always fall short. In my own mind, I was Dr. Spock and other parents were top candidates for The Super Nanny!
Fast forward to the birth of my beautiful and spirited baby. When he was a newborn and cried uncontrollably or when he would scream for a “cookie” at the grocery store as an energetic toddler, I found myself falling apart inside. I second-guessed every move I made as his mother. Was I making the right decision? Did I handle that situation correctly? Is everyone looking at me as a bad mother?
As I prayed for my son and the strength to be his mother, the Lord reminded me of the sin of judging. Only my heart heard the voice of disapproval in my head, which I thought was meant for other people. The same measure that I had once used on others was being measured out to me as a mother.
I was my accuser, not the disapproving eyes in the checkout line. Through the gentle convictions of Jesus, I am learning to be more compassionate and merciful with others. That condemning voice in my head is being replaced with one of confidence and trust that God will give me the strength to be the mother Caleb needs; no matter what the situation is, He will work all things for His good.
The less I judge others, the less I feel judged or insecure in my ability to parent. The more mercy and grace I send out, the more flows back.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measure to you.”
– Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV)
“Lord, help me to be quick to show mercy, kindness, grace and compassion to others. Show me how to be confident in Your abundant mercy and love for me. Help me to be an encouragement to those around me today, starting with…”