By Brenda Black
In 1978, Thomas Hansen of Boulder Colorado, sued his parents for $350,000 on grounds of "malpractice of parenting." Mom and Dad had botched his upbringing so badly, he charged in his suit, that he would need years of costly psychiatric treatment. Do your kids ever lay that kind of guilt trip on you?
Maybe it's not the kids, but your husband who assumes your worst is par for the course, as in the case of a lady who experienced a string of misfortunate consequences. A woman was at home doing some cleaning when the telephone rang. Headed to answer it, she tripped on a throw rug and grabbed for something to hold onto, thus seizing the telephone table. It fell over with a crash and jarred the receiver off the hook. As it fell, it hit the family dog, who leaped up, howling and barking. The woman's three-year-old son, startled by the noise, broke into loud screams. The woman mumbled some colorful words. She finally managed to pick up the receiver and lift it to her ear, just in time to hear her husband's voice on the other end say, "Nobody's said hello yet, but I'm positive I have the right number."
In an attempt to perfectly parent or fulfill perfect matrimony, how often I feel that I lose myself in the shuffle and become someone else – someone I don't want to be and barely recognize. I'm left wondering just “Who am I in this mix anymore?” much like the lady whose grandfather married her husband's mother and discovered, "my mother-in-law is now my step-grandmother. My grandfather is now my stepfather-in-law. My mom is my sister-in-law and my brother is my nephew. But even crazier is that I'm now married to my uncle and my own children are my cousins." (Campus Life, March, 1981, p. 31)
While you diagram that on paper, I'll press my case further. I am not the perfect parent nor the perfect wife, nor capable of being all that others expect or demand if I don't know first who I truly am. Actually, not even then! In all of the juggling to wear so many hats and fulfill so many roles, I have to step back and evaluate how am I helping and where am I hindering by forever trying to be perfect. God alone fills those gigantic shoes!
On days like these, when I feel depleted and overwhelmed, I turn to Scripture and read for the thousandth time that the imperfect family of which I am ingrafted is made perfect only by grace from the Lord Jesus.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen [me] with power through his Spirit in [my] inner being, so that Christ may dwell in [my heart] through faith. And I pray that [I], being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that [I] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all [I] ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within [me], to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Insert heavy, deep, breathless sigh here and roll off the self-inflicted burden you bear. Out of God's glorious riches, we are strong. Through faith in Christ, we have power for the long haul. When rooted and established in love, we get a grip on life and the fullness God supplies. And when the family dynamics once again reveal just how imperfect we are, it's good to know God's still at work in all generations and every household where He is worshipped and welcomed.