Something profound happens when one becomes a parent. Love overwhelms the heart. We gain a parent’s heart. We want the best for our kids. We make decisions. We guide. We set boundaries. We teach right from wrong. We strive to impart only the best parts of ourselves. The problem is we fail at least I have.
In an effort to raise young adults who are compassionate, self sufficient, and grounded in faith, I have put them under pressure. I have sent the wrong message. What was intended to teach was received as inadequacy.
Recently, I was wallowing in self guilt feeling like I failed my kids. My logical brain knows there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Proclaiming unconditional love is often received as conditional. I haven’t done a good job of knowing when to push versus guide. In all honesty, these are my feelings. I have no idea how my kids have received my version of parenting. I want my parental guilt replaced with a parent’s heart, a parent’s heart that is molded by God.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV).
God’s love is perfect, unconditional, giving, guiding, provides boundaries and leaves us feeling whole, valued and worthy. I need to forgive myself for my shortcomings, learn from God’s unfailing love, and share that love with others.
Forgiving myself has been one of the hardest things for me to learn to do. I struggle to let go of hurts I cause other particularly my children. I know God forgives me as soon as I ask, but my heart often doesn’t want to let go. I have learned to say to myself, “I forgive myself.” I have to be that explicit for my heart to change. It seems strange, but it works.
A parent’s heart that is God’s heart is the goal. I remind myself that I am forgiven and that I forgive myself. I’m done with parental guilt for today, anyway. I am a work in progress.
How have you struggled with guilt? How has God changed your heart? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.