May 6, 2021

We Will Never Solve “Mom Guilt” by Saying It Shouldn’t Exist

By Anna Mussmann
 
My son had trouble falling asleep last night and came downstairs to tell us the shadows in his room looked like ogres.
 
When he’s afraid of the dark, he is not comforted by a logical exposition designed to demonstrate the absence of monsters. Only two things really work. The first is praying with him. We ask God to give him safety and courage. The second is letting him select a pie server or rubber spatula from the utensil jar. He carries it upstairs so that if he sees a suspicious shadow he can stab it. After all, you never know, right?
 
I shouldn’t feel so impatient when one of my children wanders downstairs after bedtime. After all, there are a lot of similarities between childhood fears and “mom guilt,” and I know what it’s like to be afflicted by the latter. I, too, have occasionally lain in bed struggling with worries that might not even make sense.


The biggest parallel between fear of monsters and mom guilt, though, is that so many people try to solve both problems the wrong way. My son’s fears are not actually unfounded. The root of the issue is his sense that death and evil exist. In a way, he is right to be afraid. It is genuinely possible that something bad could happen to him or to our family on any given night. Arguing with him about shadows and flickering nightlights will never erase this truth.
 
In the same way, most attempts to erase mom guilt miss the point. You’ve probably heard the cultural message: you just need to decide you’re a great mom. As an article from Today’s Parent says, “If all moms feel guilty—and research shows that we pretty much all do—then there's no ‘better’ mother to compare ourselves to. Turns out mom guilt is a sham.”
 
This argument defines guilt as the product of being lower on the scale than someone else. It's not an uncommon attitude, and despite sounding reassuring, it fuels the tendency to criticize and tear each other down so that no one is “better.” It also makes it hard for moms to mentor and teach each other, because any suggestion that someone else might know enough to help you is immediately threatening.
 
That writer’s main point, though, is that moms "shouldn’t" feel guilty. Yet we do. Of course we do! Modern Americans don't acknowledge it in theological language, but we all know moms sin. Becoming aware of each other’s mistakes, weaknesses, and sins doesn’t somehow absolve us of our own.
 
If we are going to escape the slavery of mom guilt, we need constant reassurance that Jesus died for us. Yet as we try to repent, it helps to recognize that the issue is complicated. As a culture, we’ve mixed several disparate feelings and tendencies—not all of which are specifically sins--into one bundle and called it “mom guilt.” We, like my son, need our pie server-equivalents to test the shadows that creep into our minds at night. Questions make pretty good spatulas.
 
1. Is [this thing I feel guilty about] Something I Am Actually Supposed to Do?
 
One reason moms are so busy comparing ourselves to others is that, unlike in other times and places, our culture does not provide us with a uniform and cohesive view of what a good mom is supposed to do. We keep peeking around uneasily to see what everyone else seems to be doing.
 
Simply recognizing this gap is liberating. It frees us to examine our own assumptions, goals, and lives. What do we actually hope to do as mothers? What do our children truly need? What does God's Word say about this beautiful, natural, self-sacrificial vocation? Working through questions like these with our husbands can be helpful. (Maybe even check out a template like this one)Knowing what we are actually trying to do can help us avoid false guilt for failing to live up to other people’s priorities.
 
 
2. Am I Struggling with Pride?
 
We moms tend to frame ourselves as victims of mom guilt. Sometimes, though, we’re the perpetrators.
 
We want to feel skilled and successful at what we’re doing. We want—deep down--to paraphrase the Pharisee of Luke 18 and pray, “I thank God that I am not like other moms.” When events or our children show us up and ding our pride, we are prone to mislabeling how we feel as “mom guilt.” 
 
It’s healthy to ask ourselves whether our “guilt” is focused on our children’s actual needs or on other people’s perception of us and our children. If our feelings would be different if no one had seen what happened, perhaps we should repent of pride instead of complaining about guilt. 
 
 
3. Have My Fears Been Triggered?
 
A while ago, my two-year-old fell on the cement step that leads to our back door and bit his tongue. The poor little guy bled at lot at the time, and later he woke up in pain during the night. It made me feel guilty. If I had held his hand, he wouldn’t have fallen.
 
Yet I also know it would be damaging for him if I kept him tethered permanently to my hand. Why, then, did I feel guilty because he happened to stumble? Maybe my pride was triggered—maybe I like to think of myself as more powerful in my children’s lives than I really am—but I think the biggest factor was something else. I think fear is often mislabeled “mom guilt.”
 
Children are so precious and so vulnerable. Their pain triggers our recognition that sin, death, and evil exist—and that we do not have the power to overcome them for our children. A little accident reminds us that a big one could happen. 
 
In moments like this, I try to turn my attention away from “feeling guilty,” because the phrase isn’t accurate. What I really need to do is take my fears to Christ. I can pray for the courage to face suffering and danger. I can cling to His promises for me and my children. 
 
 
4. Am I Suffering Because I Love My Kids?
 
There is, of course, another reason we moms don’t like to see our children suffer. We love our children! It’s unpleasant to see anyone we love in discomfort or pain. There’s nothing wrong with this. There is no need to label our natural sadness “mom guilt” as if we need somehow to salve, cure, or erase it. It is OK to be appropriately sad. It is OK to love.
 
 
5. Am I Experiencing the Work of the Holy Spirit?
 
We moms sin against our kids. Quite frequently. Sometimes we develop long-term sinful habits in the way we mother. Sometimes we make life decisions that sinfully prioritize our own desires over the good of our children.
 
In these cases, our guilty feelings are good. They are the work of the Holy Spirit calling us to repentance. They are a sign of the mercy of the Savior who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to seek after the one who is lost. Mom guilt can be a blessing, because it reminds us who we are (sinners and saints, redeemed by God). We are the children of a Heavenly Father who never fails us, never sins, never feels guilty; but instead takes on our guilt and nails it to the cross.
 
We won’t solve mom guilt by telling moms that monsters don’t exist. They do. Even in us. Instead, let’s remember the Savior who has already defeated the monsters and given us His righteousness. Mom guilt is complicated, but Christ's mercy is not. He can forgive us whether or not we sort through, understand, and correctly label our feelings. He can step into the gap and save our children when we fail. 

Through Him, we can celebrate this Mother’s Day without the burden of mom guilt--not because we’ve erased our guilt but because He has. In that sense, modern American pop culture is right. You don't have to feel guilty.

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After graduating from Concordia Wisconsin, Anna taught in Lutheran schools for several years.  She now homeschools her children during the day and writes in the evening. Anna loves Jane Austen, dark chocolate, and the Oxford comma. She reviews the books she reads on Goodreads, and her work can also be found in The Federalist.


Image source.

Apr 21, 2021

Dear Single Sisters in Christ

 By Abby Leithart
 
Being a single Christian woman comes with many tensions. While many others around me are becoming engaged and having babies and more babies, I am desiring all of the above. Perhaps you, too, are single; you, too, desire to be married; you too have tried telling yourself being single is a blessing (not saying it is not); you too go back and forth between praying about it and wondering what the point of these petitions is. Does God even care about these desires?
 
And on top of all of these internal battles, everyone around you gives conflicting advice. In my experience, one of the least helpful pieces of advice concerning meeting a potential husband is, “You know when you know…” Thank you for pointing out the very thing I do not know.  *le sigh. Another example of disheartening words to a single woman is, “how are you still single?” *le sigh again…I egotistically ask myself the same question! So many women seem to have no trouble finding a suitable husband, why can’t I?
 
It is easy, at this point, to look inwardly and critically and think that surely there must be something wrong with me. It is easy to fall into the devil’s traps when you are wallowing in self-pity.

 

There have been other times when I have thought that the more I do my daily devotions and read God’s Word, the more He will bless me, give me the desires of my heart, and be merciful to my poor self in the ways that I see fit. But as my dear pastor, Pastor Christopher Esget, reminds me, that is far from the truth! Of course it is good and right to read the Word, do daily devotions, and pray; but just because we do these things does not mean God will instantly bless us with the desires we have been praying for.
 
John 16:24 tells us, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” The key thing to remember here is that our joy rests in Jesus alone. Nothing in this life will fulfill our earthly and eternal needs as does the Lord. Yes, pray for the desires that you seek from God, but ultimately, pray for faith!
 
I have spoken with many single and married women, and each want something different. One was single and desired marriage, and the Lord fulfilled that prayer, but now, she wants a child. Another is married and blessed with a child, but hopes for a second. The Lord blesses another with five children, and now she just wants peace and quiet. . . well, can you blame her? My point is, we are always going to be searching for earthly wants. These desires may be good, but we cannot make them the center of our focus.
 
Although his story is not one focused on singleness, the events of Job still come to mind. Even in the midst of darkest despair, pain, and loss, He praised God. “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). What a wonderful example of perseverance and faith. As a single woman desiring marriage, I look to my faith in these times of difficulty. In the years that seem like a never ending drought, the Lord comes with His Word and Sacrament bringing healing.
 
When I fall into excessive contemplation of my own feelings and lot in life, I ought to stop and remember my baptism, His promises, and how He has, and will always provide what I need. It is not easy to remember that His ways are better than my ways, but we pray over and over again that His will be done.
 
So, how then should we live? Certainly not in constant sadness and dare I say, anger. Yes, there will be times when you cry yourself to sleep at night because another man you have tried dating ended up not being your husband, or because you simply feel the pangs of loneliness.
 
Yet as Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle say in the book Ladylike, “No person who pleads to God for a husband is called to loneliness, though it is a fact of her life.” God’s immediate blessings of family, friendship, community, faith, and love can help turn the focus from ourselves and prevent us from making our greatest desires our idol. At times, it is difficult to accept where the Lord has placed us, but our lives right now are no mistake.
 
Resist falling into the devil’s temptations and lies of loneliness and despair. You are not alone, dear sister, the Lord is with you. Ask Him to show you and teach you patience. He will provide you with what you need, which may be different than your strongest desires. But He is faithful in His Word and Sacraments. He will be faithful to us until our last breath. Stay constant in prayer, repent, praise Him for saving us from this wretched world, and receive His grace and mercy.
 
***
 
Abby Leithart joined the Immanuel Lutheran School faculty located in Alexandria,Virginia in 2020 as Kindergarten Assistant Teacher. Miss Leithart brings to the classroom six years teaching and eleven years of professional dance company experience. She was a company member with The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company for five years before moving to Virginia and working with various companies in DC. She has taught youth and adult classes at City Dance Conservatory (Rockville, MD), Ballet Nova Center for Dance (Arlington, VA), Joy of Motion Dance Center (Washington, DC), and Born2Dance Studio (Vienna, VA). She continues to teach and choreograph outside of the Kindergarten classroom. 

Miss Leithart received her BFA in dance at Wright State University and has continued her training with additional summer intensives such as Hubbard Street Dance Company, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and NW Dance Project. She was recognized with the Regional Dance America's Northeast Josephine Schwartz Award for best emerging choreographer (RDA) in 2015, and has choreographed a variety of solos and group performances. She has performed around the world, including in Azerbaijan, Russia, England, Cuba, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, as well as locally at the Kennedy Center in DC.

An active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Miss Leithart enjoys serving the congregation through participation in the choir.

Apr 19, 2021

Help us Circumvent the Algorithms of Our Technological Overlords! Or, why you should sign up for our newsletter!

By Anna Mussmann

I’ll admit it: I want people to read the things I write. At least, I want the people who want to read the things I write to read them.
 
When I post articles from this blog on Facebook, they fall, of course, into the great algorithmic stream ostensibly dammed and channeled so as to show each of you what you are most likely to want to see. Yet the stream doesn’t belong to either you or me. It’s Facebook’s stream, and they keep asking me to pay them money to show you my posts. 

Facebook's pay-to-play system isn't the only impediment, either. 
 

You probably heard about the surge of “deplatforming” that followed the 2020 election. Do you know, for instance, that it is now officially against Youtube’s policy to allow any content “alleging widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of a historical U.S. Presidential election?” Or, for another instance, did you hear about the bishop blocked from Twitter for tweeting in opposition to assisted suicide? Or that Facebook would not allow the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty to “boost” a post in response to violence in the U.S. capital?
 
I’ve been wondering lately about the future of this blog—especially about my ability to share it.
 
A while back, Facebook attached a warning label to an article from this blog. The label said our piece contained inaccurate information about Kenyan obesity rates. Now, in reality, the article did not mention obesity, Kenyans, or even Africa. Yet the warning popped up anytime a reader tried to share the post. It may well have been a mere error—just a coincidence. Yet there was no way to appeal the label, and that says something about Facebook's priorities. 
 
It would be nice to have a way to connect with each other independent of the big tech platforms. 

What about signing up for the Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife newsletter? You can do so in the right-hand sidebar on this site. You’ll probably hear from us once a month. You’ll get bonus content (including a chance to join a discussion group). It will be fun! It will help stick it to the technological overlords and their all-powerful algorithms!
 
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Do note that if you want to subscribe, you'll have to hit confirm in the email you get after signing up
 
Hoping to connect,
 
Anna




Apr 17, 2021

Using our Words to Repent

 By Anna Mussmann
 
“In the beginning was the Word.” Without language, we would not know God.
 
We would not hear His voice in the pages of Holy Scripture. We would not hear the words of absolution spoken by our pastors. We would not understand God’s creation of the universe or the meaning of the Word made flesh for us.
 
We would be fully lost and fully alone.
 
God has given us the gift of language and has blessed us with the task of using it to share His word with others. We are told to send preachers to the lost and to teach the faith “diligently” to our children by talking of it “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
 
We are meant to be people of words.

 

Yet when humanity attempted to build a tower to Heaven, God gave us Babel instead. Why would a loving father respond to the sins of His created children by taking away the ability to communicate?
 
Perhaps the answer is related to another question. Why does Exodus say both that Pharaoh “hardened his heart” and that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart? Pharaoh become unable to listen to the divine word relayed by Moses—unable, that is, to repent. His story is bitterly tragic. Likewise, when we reject God, He gives us over to the tragic loneliness of our own darkness.
 
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
 
To lose the ability to hear and comprehend the Word is to experience the fullness of sin’s curse.
 
That’s why we should be worried that modern Americans aren’t much different from the folks who built Babel. It’s easy to laugh at Ray Kurzweil’s expectation that humans will achieve immortality by uploading our consciousness to the internet, but aren’t we, too, guilty of trusting modern knowledge and technology to protect us from suffering? Our tower may be less literal, but it’s still a way to reach our own man-made version of “heaven.”
 
Perhaps, then, it’s no coincidence that our twenty-first century outpouring of technological achievement is accompanied by an attack on language. I’m not talking about small skirmishes like banning Huckleberry Finn because of the author’s vocabulary. I’m talking about the way celebrities, academics, journalists, and activists are perpetually adding off-limits words and phrases to a changing list. In addition, they tell us that many ordinary-sounding words now mean entirely new things.
 
Recently, for instance, British midwives have been instructed by the National Health Service not to say “breastfeeding” or “breast milk” because the term suggests feeding an infant with one’s body is a feminine activity involving the use of breasts. “Chestfeeding” or “human milk” are supposedly more accurate and inclusive. No doubt, however, the terminology will continue to evolve—“chestfeeding” may well be an offensive phrase someday.
 
Consider also the modern urge to alter the language of the Bible. One of the most obvious examples is gender-neutral language. Unfortunately, meddling with Scripture alters its meaning; as for instance when you replace “masculine singular” references in the psalms with a plural “they,” as some translations do, and destroy the reader’s ability to recognize prophesies of Christ.
 
Politically-correct babel is isolating. Writer Stella Morabito says that “as our speech becomes more restricted, we end up more separated from one another,” because “political correctness is primarily a tool for crushing people’s ability to have open conversations in friendship and mutual respect.”
 
We are tempted, of course, to think this is a problem for other people—a snare for the woke and the sinful.
 
But what if God is doing this? On purpose? What if we are looking at the judgement of a righteous God? We, too, are part of this generation, and we, too, are sinners. We demonstrate nothing but our own hardness of heart when we respond with self-righteous resentment against our progressive neighbors for messing up the nice world good people like ourselves “deserve” to have. We aren’t as different from pharaoh as we think.
 
Our response to Babel ought to be repentance.
 
God hardened pharaoh’s heart, and there was no happy ending. Yet He is also merciful. We are facing the darkness of a new Babel, but perhaps this actually is the mercy of God for us, because by it we are reminded of our need for the Light who shone in the darkness.
 
We are people of words. We can use our words to pray, to preach, to teach, to repent, to echo “Amen.” We can do all that because language does not depend on sinners like us for its meaning. The Word of the Lord endures forever. He will bring us scattered, lonely humans into that last day when we—like Adam and Eve in the garden—will see God face to face and know Him fully. To that we say, “Amen.”


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After graduating from Concordia Wisconsin, Anna taught in Lutheran schools for several years.  She now homeschools her children during the day and writes in the evening. Anna loves Jane Austen, dark chocolate, and the Oxford comma. She likes to review the books she reads on Goodreads, and her work can also be found in The Federalist.



Feb 9, 2021

Why I’m Grateful to My Friends for Cleaning Their Houses

By Anna Mussmann

Domestic coziness is important. I know this. I believe this. However, after my third baby was born, I didn’t much notice what my house was actually like. I was too busy learning how to parent three children instead of two. It didn’t help that the basement flooded and I developed a case of shingles. I was too busy to even see things like, say, dust. My mind had streamlined the word “cleaning” to mean only three things: running the vacuum occasionally, washing the dishes, and telling the kids to tidy their toys. 
 
And for a while, this was OK. 



When the baby was around four months old, we went on a road trip and stayed with friends. My friends had cleaned. In their houses, the floors had been washed. The sunlight poured through glossy windows and lit up well-cared for houseplants. There was a feeling of spaciousness and comfort in the absence of clutter. It was so restful to be in those homes. It was beautiful. It made me remember.
 
The first thing I did at home was to wash my electric kettle. It’s ceramic with a pretty white and red pattern. I like the feel of the handle and the swoosh of water when I pour it into a waiting teacup. It’s basically domestic coziness in itself. The thing is, though, the outside of my kettle had taken on the orange hue of dozens of forgotten dinners. You know how it is--little bits of food splash when you’re cooking and you’re too busy to wipe them off. I hadn’t even noticed the specks before. It was embarrassing to look around my kitchen with newly opened eyes, but it was nice to see the kettle look glossy again. 
 
I didn’t have time to scrub the whole house at once. My baby was still pretty needy and the other kids wanted my attention, too. However, I had made a start--I had begun to notice things and to work on them in odd moments. 
 
I’m grateful to my friends for cleaning their houses. Their hospitality was a wonderful gift; all the more so because it helped lift me out of whatever survival zone I was in and reminded me that a clean home is a real thing. A lovely thing. A goal worth working on around, between, and during the various adventures my children create. 
 
It seems to me that online discussions about looking after one’s house are a bit like discussions about achieving a healthy body weight. Both issues ought, on the face of it, to be relatively simple; but they are instead deeply interwoven with self-worth, pride, lifestyle choices, guilt, shame, perfectionism, exhaustion, and plain old sin. They become almost impossible to discuss.
 
Yet perhaps the idea that we could get better at cleaning our houses doesn’t have to be a blow to our self-worth. It doesn’t have to be Law that must be cast off so that we can live in grace. 
 
It’s true that housekeeping is hard work. However, I think there are other reasons so many of us have a complicated relationship with this idea of keeping our homes nice: I think we have unconsciously soaked in the cultural message that housekeeping isn’t meaningful and might in fact be oppressive (proof: men do less of it than we do!). Besides, we find it tough to believe that we actually need to learn a skill set just for cleaning. After all, how hard is it to scrub a toilet? We forget that the managerial side of all this--the skill of organizing ourselves into developing and following an efficient daily system--is something few of us have learned. We also have too much stuff. 
 
But you know, we don’t have to actually listen to cultural messages or to live amongst clutter. We live in grace, and we are free to seek out the blessing of new skills and new ways of doing things. It is a blessing, not a burden, to have a pretty tea kettle to clean. It is a blessing to have friends who clean their homes and invite us in. It is a blessing to scrub the floor for our own families. 
 
In her book Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life Margaret Kim Peterson writes, “Time deliberately set aside for keeping house is never just about ‘making a home for my family.’ Of course housework is about making a home, but a Christian home, properly understood, is never just for one’s own family. A Christian home overflows its boundaries; it is an outpost of the kingdom of God, where the hungry are fed and the naked are clothed and there is room enough for everyone.” 
 
She points out that the “hungry” and “naked” people Jesus talks about serving aren’t necessarily strangers. “Housework is all about feeding and clothing and sheltering people who, in the absence of that daily work, would otherwise be hungry and ill-clad and ill-housed. There is undoubtedly more to the merciful service that Jesus describes in Matthew 25 than caring for the daily needs of the members of our own households. Housework is a beginning, not an end. But it is a beginning--not a sidetrack, not a distraction, but a beginning, and an essential one at that--in the properly Christian work of, among other things, meeting the everyday needs of others.”
 
I am thankful for the beginning I have been able to make. That is why I am grateful to my friends for cleaning their houses. 


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After graduating from Concordia Wisconsin, Anna taught in Lutheran schools for several years.  She now homeschools her children during the day and writes in the evening. Anna loves Jane Austen, dark chocolate, and the Oxford comma. She likes to review the books she reads on Goodreads, and her work can also be found in The Federalist.



Jan 20, 2021

Praying for My Children--and All the Baptized

By Molly Barnett
 
Becky Eminger’s post about her wish for Christmas struck my heart sharply. She reminded me to pray for all of God’s baptized children as often as possible. She also presented the difficult truth that, as a parent, I do not have control over my son’s gift of faith.
 
I admit that this was a tough pill to swallow for a new mother of a young child with another on the way. What I can do is follow her wise example and that of many faithful Christian parents, and dutifully teach my son God’s ways by taking him to church every Sunday, practicing devotions as a family at home, praying with him, and letting him witness my own shortcomings that need Christ’s daily forgiveness.
 
The rest is truly the doings of the Holy Spirit as I fervently pray He keeps my young son, a toddler, in the one true saving faith and into life everlasting.
 
While I grieve with her and any parent of adult children who have lost them, either momentarily or permanently, to the world, I am also humbled at witnessing the gift of faith in the littlest among us.



As a Lutheran, I rejoice at the gift of infant baptism and the faith which springs from it and grows as the child is instructed in God’s Word. The moment between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, both with child, enters my mind with this topic.
 
Mary journeys to her cousin in Judah, and upon entering the home and greeting those within, John leaps within Elizabeth’s womb! Luke’s Gospel informs us, “And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.’ ”
 
As I am pregnant now with my second child and regularly feel her vibrant motions, I can only begin to imagine the excitement Elizabeth felt when her son physically reacted within her to the Lord’s presence within Mary. I ought to meditate on these verses more often. Aren’t they beautiful?
           
Now that my son is a year and a half old and has heard daily prayers and weekly attends Divine Service with us, a sweet glimmer of his young faith seems to be shining. Almost daily, he will find our home hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book used in church, flip through the pages and “sing.” 
 
He cannot utter distinguishable words of prayer nor praise, but he, in his own way, is doing what he witnesses of the living saints. He knows that this special book is for singing, and he uses it as such, and boy, is it adorable. Not only is it precious to see him mimicking what he has seen, but it is also a picture of faith in God’s smallest children. They too, we confess, have faith in Him and believe though not able to confess with their lips quite yet. He did not need me to carve out a spot in the day to sing to God. He saw the hymnal, knew its purpose, and responded willingly. I cannot say for certain, but perhaps it is the Holy Spirit working within him. It is certainly possible.
 
Of course I want to gush over this ritual and claim some sort of pious credit of influence, but that is exactly what I ought not to do.
 
If Luther is right in the explanation to the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed that “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel,” then how much more applicable is this notion to that of someone else’s faith! Instead of gazing upon my son’s budding faith as the fruit of MY works, I need to change my posture by giving thanks to the giver of faith!
 
It is not for us to know the mysteries of God apart from what He tells us in Scripture. Therefore, it is certainly not for us to judge the faithful parents of children who reject the faith in their adulthood.
 
The devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh are very real forces working against God’s good work. Let us then turn to God for constant guidance in raising our children in all stages of their lives and seek His mercy. Let us not take credit if our children grow into faithful adults who regularly and joyfully attend church services. Let us give thanks for the gift of faith imparted to us in our baptism by the Holy Spirit and pray without ceasing for the little and big children of God.

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Molly Barnett lives with her husband and son in Alexandria, Virginia where they are members of Immanuel Lutheran Church. Before becoming a mother, she taught fourth grade for six years at the classical Immanuel Lutheran School. She holds a B.A. in English from The Ohio State University and an M.A. in liberal arts from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. Her favorite activities these days include walking outside with her family, playing the piano, and competing against her husband in various board games.

Image source.