Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Power of the Past

In Gordon MacDonald's "The Resilient Life" he talks about how the past influences our present and our future, and that only through facing our past, repenting our failings, and learning from our mistakes, can we truly come to terms with our past. MacDonald also speaks about the importance of our childhood in shaping who we are.

I have been spending alot of time in the past lately. On and off for the past few months, when I have a few extra minutes, I have been working on a scrapbook of my life up until the time I got married. I just finished my high school graduation. (The end is in sight - only 5 years to go and I have very few pictures from my college years!) As I went through the pictures, however, there were times in my life that were so incredibly painful, it hurt even to put the pictures in the album. Yet, this is my past. I own it. It is the only one I have, and for better or worse, it has made me who I am today. Most days, I really like that person.

In speaking about childhood, MacDonald relates that "a significant part of who we are, what we do, and how we relate to others is shaped by our impressions of the experiences of the first ten years of our lives." Obviously, that is true, but as a mom, that scares the heck out of me. I get up every day and try to be the best mom I can be for my children. I want them to feel loved and secure and to grow up to be God's kind of adult. I want them to love to learn and to express themselves and to be the people God created them to be.

And yet, I am not a perfect mom, and know that I never will be. Will my children remember the 99 times I sat with them and read story after story or drew "Cookie Monster" over and over again, or the one time that I told them to go play by themselves because I was too tired? Will they remember all the times I disciplined them with kindness and understanding, or the handful of times I have completely lost my patience? I pray to God every day to be a good mom, to bring them up the way that I should, and I know with God's help we will all survive and hopefully flourish. Parenting is such an exercise in the unknown, however. I know that I shape my children's future every day and yet, I have no idea what that future will bring. Only God knows, and scary as it is, I need to let go and trust in His wisdom.

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