I still remember some of the heaviest words I ever received as a parent. My husband and I sat nervously in our pastor’s parenting class. We were first timers, our first baby was all of about 3 months old and we knew we needed to figure out how to do this thing right.
And then he dropped the bomb. “As a parent, the very first authority your child will meet, the very first representation of Christ they will ever see, is you.”
I signed up for adorable tiny clothes and sweet smelling lotions. I even agreed to long nights and trading sleep, but becoming the very first representation of Christ to another human being? How did I ever think I was qualified for this gig? The weight of it all settled in quickly.
And really, it never stops.
I am the very first representation of authority and Christ. The very first representation of forgiveness and faith. My job is to represent love and faithfulness and patience and respect and who in the entire world is qualified for this job?
Thankfully we’ve figured it out day by day. Thankfully, His grace extended becomes our grace as well and we make mistakes and bump into walls and keep going knowing He is always enough.
But lately, as my kids have aged and grown a bit, a few other weighty questions have started spinning in my mind. My husband and I are the very first representation of marriage to these kids. I am the very first representation of what a godly wife looks like. Do I live worthy of that calling?
The honest answer is no, not all the time. But it’s worth struggling with that question a bit.
In a world where marriage fail as much as they thrive, in a world where women’s roles are minimized and dramatized and trivialized and compromised what story does my life tell these girls I’m raising?
Here is what I want my girls to know as it pertains to love and marriage.
Marriage is a blessing. A covenant worth keeping. A relationship worth fighting for.
This union is like no other and your participation and perseverance is key.
Submission is a gift. It does not compromise your dignity, it protects it.
Faithfulness is a virtue – a commitment to valuing the small moments and the vision to believe they really do add up.
Trust Hope and Truth more than you trust your feelings.
Never underestimate prayer, it is more powerful than we ever realize.
Being sunk by the weight of the job in front of us benefits no one. As moms we are to recognize the importance of our role, take it seriously and pray for the strength and grace to do it all well, knowing that He is always enough.
When I grab my husband’s hand at the dinner table tonight, when I choose patience over short and curt responses, I realize that I’m not only benefiting my marriage, I’m laying a foundation in the minds of my children at the very same time. My quiet actions tell them what love is.
What a responsibility and gift, all wrapped in one. We have the opportunity to not only bless our marriages, but through faithfulness, the future marriages of our children as well. Now, that is something worth fighting for.
For help in making your marriage a priority join us for the 5-day marriage challenge, I Choose You. Find out more here.