Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Power of a Mom

All power implies a corresponding responsibility; and the greater the power the greater the responsibility because the greater the danger... One of the fearful things about power is that we connot measure the effect of the abuse of it: if we wantonly hurt other human beings we know that evil will come of it but we cannot foretell the extent of the evil... Because He has told us clearly that to sin against His creatures is to sin against Himself we must see all abuse of power in this light...
Yet the power is given us; we cannot be rid of it. Authority has to be exercised; personal gifts have to be used: how can we make sure that our use of power will not in fact be an abuse of it? Only by making ourselves powerless before God, as the dead body of Christ was powerless; only by becoming "stripped and poor and naked" within our own souls, so that the Spirit can invest us with his divine power and transform our impulses and cure our pride.
I read this last night, a quote from Gerald Vann's The Son's Course, in The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot. It's inside a chapter about the authority of the father in the home, but a mother also has authority, and consequently, great power in her kids' lives. The only way I have found to live right consistently as a mother, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, is to live "stripped and poor and naked" in my soul. Only when I have a true sense of my own weakness and inadequacy and consequently keep my eyes fixed desperately on Him for help do I live in a way that honors Him. Always, always when I'm feeling pretty good about myself and how I'm doing, I fail miserably.
It's sobering to realise that every time I fail, every time I'm impatient or unkind to my kids I'm spreading evil and won't fully know the extent of the damage I have done. I know it's inevitable to fail again and again, and that Christ can redeem our worst mistakes, but I tend to dismiss my failures too flippantly, unwilling to recognize the seriousness of living life driven by selfishness and pride and my own desires.
Today I begin with nothing but a desperate plea to the Source of All That's Good to make something good of today, to bear in me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. I say "begin" because so quickly a self-assurance creeps like a shell over my soul in my first unguarded moment, and I take control and do things my way, in a way that feels right to me at the moment, and then the day is gone and I realise it was wasted, because without Him I can do nothing worthwhile.

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