When You Strike Out As A Mom
My son was crushed. It was the postseason for his baseball league and his team was tied for first place. They had a strong lead for the first few innings and then things began to deteriorate. Error after error and several close calls that ended badly tied the game. We had two outs in the final inning with a runner on third base. It was my son’s turn at bat.
He hit a foul ball and then the pitcher threw two balls and two strikes. The final moment of the game would determine if our team won or lost.
My son swung for the bleachers as the ball flew past him into the catcher’s glove. I watched as my son’s shoulders slumped and he walked away from home plate, defeated.
My sweet son made his way to the car and as we drove home, I listened. He began to beat himself up over the loss. I stopped him in his tracks to remind him that it was not his fault that they lost the game. He was allowing those few seconds at bat to define him and establish his self-worth instead of his season long effort as a player and teammate. It was a good teachable moment. We talked about what he learned from his performance, how he could use that to improve, and that our emotions are meant to serve us, not sideline us. As a mom, I know that in life we win some and we lose some. I know that the game is not won or lost because of one play, or one person. It’s the sum of many plays--many opportunities--over and over again.
That night, after I tucked my son in bed and turned off the light, I sensed the Holy Spirit reminding of this in my mothering. As I think about the times I strike out with my kids by getting impatient or saying things I regret, Satan wants me to feel discouraged or guilty. He wants me to define my role as a mom by my worst moments. But Jesus does not do that. He convicts me lovingly and prods me on to try again and do better next time. Jesus reminds me that my parenting is for a season and that the sum of many years of pointing my kids toward Christ-like behavior is what I will be accountable for.
For most of us, we do a lot of things right! Each day--even this very moment--is another chance to knock it out of the park. We do so by applying what we know is true:
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:13-16, NIV)
When our teenagers get mouthy, we respond with loving-kindness.
When the dishes pile up, we don’t complain.
When our kids argue with one another, we become peacemakers.
When our daughters backtalk, we correct them with consistency.
When our sons get too aggressive, we show them a better way.
When we see a pattern of sin in our child’s life, we lovingly confront them.
And when we are in error and we drop the ball, we talk to our Heavenly Father, asking for forgiveness, learning from our sin or failures, and move forward with confidence that we will hit a home-run next time.
The season for my son’s baseball team isn’t over yet. One final game looms in the near future. Whatever the outcome, that one game will not tell the whole story.
So it is with you, mom.
Take the time to affirm all the ways you have been a blessing in your child’s life. God’s not done with you yet. It takes a childhood to raise a child.
Each new day is a new opportunity for you to be victorious--one glorious teachable moment at a time.
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