I dedicate this post to all the moms out there who find themselves day in and day out in the fires of monotonous moments with their children – moments with the potential for severe and sweet transformation and holy encounter… if embraced and yielded to…
I recently was struck with the truth that He is not looking for a better me but a lesser me. He does not want better morality from me but greater dependency. I’m not to imitate the Vine but abide in it.
That’s a mouthful, admittedly, but it came not out of a culmination of lofty ideas but rather out of a deficiency of “good” within me as a mom. It was one of those weeks, here at the final few days of this fourth pregnancy, when I found myself painfully lacking in godly responses to my other three children. Patience and peace and even joy had long drifted to a distant sea and I was left alone empty-handed in the sharp and cutting rawness of self. Just raw me, without the beautiful “goodness” that comes only from the Lord and springs forth only from the true Vine (Ps. 16:2; Jn. 15:5).
And there in my exposed state, in the remorseful afterglow that follows the filth of wrongdoing, I found myself repenting. Sincere reaching to the Lord out of my blaring weakness within and without. It was in those moments as I lifted my heart to the Lord that I felt His reminder. He really isn’t after a better me but a lesser me. The One who spoke, “You can do nothing apart from Me” is not surprised when my “doings” are so worthless. He is not asking for better outward works but greater inward reliance. He doesn’t want me polishing the doorknobs of my morality but rather cleaving desperately, with gut-level dependency, to the only One who is Good.
I am to be the one who clings out of great need. HE is the One who transforms this deep abiding into the fruit marked by everlasting quality – fruit that remains (John 15:16). More of me and what I have to offer does no one a favor. But more of HIM? More of His life and goodness and peace and joy? Even tiny traces of such true life are the greatest gift I can offer my children, my husband and those near me. I’m not to imitate this Vine, but abide in it – in HIM.
Thus, when I begin to live separately from Him – even in moments or hours of time – when I leave that inward dependency that alone bears true fruit, my first and primary wrong done is not the rash word I speak or the sharp tone I use, but rather my initial parting from my only Source of life. The offense is first found in my independence and autonomy from Jesus. Yes, my words and actions are wrong but not because I’ve failed at perfecting my imitation of Him but because in my pride, I’ve separated myself from the Source who alone brings forth the sweet fruit of godliness in me. My repentance to the Lord is not first or fundamentally a prayer of, “Forgive me for that word I spoke,” but rather, “Forgive me for separating myself from You, for assuming self-sufficiency.” My confession to my children is not first the sin of impatience but the sin of independence from the Patient One.
And so again, as we journey these most precious flames of parenting, of loving God and loving one another, let us remember that He is not looking for better morality from us but greater dependency and faithful cleaving to Him – the kind of clinging to the Vine that alone bears true and lasting fruit. Our joy and aim is to at last give up the art of imitation and to truly partake of His impartation, His life and light abundant.