In 2011 I had the incredible opportunity to travel to the Arkansas State Capitol at the invitation of then Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr. My responsibility that day was to open the afternoon session of the 88th Assembly of the Arkansas State Senate in prayer. I had thought long and hard about the words I would pray over those important lawmakers. Here is an excerpt from the prayer I prayed that day.
“God, my fervent hope today is that you would help them to continue to hear—not just the voice of their constituents, but your voice as well. God grant them the wisdom to make sound decisions and the discernment to understand the far-reaching implications of those decisions.”
I don’t remember what was on the docket for the day. But I know that each man and woman in that chamber was responsible for representing a body of people they had chosen to serve. Their actions—no matter how small, or even seemingly insignificant, carried weight. What they discussed, conclusions reached, votes cast. It all mattered. It all made a difference. The molding of the law was akin to working the clay of civilized society.
What about you?
In your world you may be the lawmaker. You may be making the rules of the house. You might be passing down mandates and dictating decisions that shape the days, months, or years to come. If you’re a parent or guardian of a child you better believe this is true.
Your every decision, reaction, omission, and word have weight. The things you do will echo in the future of your child. The things you don’t do will echo just as loudly! The point I’m trying to make is that you have a responsibility. It is holy. It is God-given. It is authority. It is blessed. It is vital.
The implications of your every action are so important. I wish I could say I always get it right. I love my boys so much. But not an hour ago I was sending my three-year-old off to bed with a much harsher tone than was probably necessary.
Parents, do you feel the weight of the life you hold in your hands? I hope so. Does it keep you up at night sometimes? I hope so. I think it should.
Now. Stop holding your breath. Unclench a little bit. Relax. Breathe deep. After all, you’re not perfect. Yes, your every action and inaction as a parent matters. But you’re never going to get it all right. But guess what? It’s alright. After all, who better to guide you through your imperfectness as a parent than the perfect parent?
Ask God to help. Go ahead. Ask him right now, I’ll wait.
Now, doesn’t that feel a little bit better. Ok,maybe it doesn’t yet. But long before you became responsible for guiding this little human being through the obstacle course of life God set your memories into motion. The first steps, the first fight, the crying, joy, gladness, serenity, and taxing anxiety of parenthood…God has already experienced all of it, for everyone, ever. Whoa!
He’s right there in the middle of your mess waiting for you to ask him to make it better. I love my boys “to the moon and back again” as one of our favorite bedtime stories goes, but I’m so far short of the perfect parent.
Thank God I’ve got God. He’s in the mix. He’s helping in the moments when I want to duct tape my son to his bed and scream at the wall. He’s there rejoicing when I get it right! He’s there when my heart hurts over a poor decision I have made. After all, there’s grace for that.
Yes, there are far reaching implications for your every action but God’s actions can reach farther than yours. There is a weight to grace.