“Behold, children are a gift from the Lord … a reward …” (Psalm 127:3, NASB).
Sure, maybe a white elephant gift!
I didn’t just say that, did I? I’m not trying to be irreverent—and I’m not saying I think my children were lame jokes. But there were times it sure seemed God got me confused with some other lady when handing out “rewards”.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like I did. Let’s all just agree right here, this kind of feeling is normal from time to time. Just like the Prince Charmings we dreamed of finding, we’ve all been duped into believing we deserved precious little jewels to adorn us in public places, and sweet little cherubs to flit around our homes. Right?
What fairy tale convinced us of that fantasy? Not even the seven dwarfs were that delightful.
No, many times I more identified with the old woman in the shoe—frantically trying to keep up, falling further and further behind, until I was lost in a whirlwind of confusion. I’d probably have fed my children a little more than broth, and I don’t know that I would have had the energy to spank them all soundly. But the idea of sending them all to bed so I could have some solitude? Now that was appealing.
Children aren’t easy to begin with. But when a mom’s typical load is weighted with the demands of SAFE children, we might frequently question what kind of gifts God has given us in our children. Here we are, “exemplary” women, obediently fulfilling the duties described as true religion (James 1:27). We think surely God will bless our sacrifices with grateful, compliant children. But the opposite—the extreme opposite—is our reality.
So how is it these children are a gift? How can a hardened, resistant child be any kind of reward other than the kind we’d just as soon pack up and hide behind a pile of blankets in the corner of our closet?
I once heard a woman say children are a gift from the Lord not because they are treasures to display, but because they are tools to transform us into the image of Christ. Oh! Think chisel, power sander, or hammer. Ouch! That sounds like the kind of gift my husband would like—though I don’t think he’d use it on my heart. But God does.
Remember this scripture?
Do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his [child].
(Hebrews 6:5-6, NIV)
If you are at that point in life when the handling of these gifts hurts, let me assure you, in time you’ll see those gifts as beautiful instruments. They are indeed like diamond-headed drill bits. They cut deep—swift and painful. But the results are stunning.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
(Job 23:10, NIV)