1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Straight through the child-rearing years, I was a stay-at-home-mom serving in that ambiguous role as pastor’s wife: no job description, but a wealth of unspoken expectations. I ministered to the congregation by my husband’s side as best I could, and struggled to keep our home as a place of refuge.
My sons are grown and gone now, and though they both graciously comfort their old mom and dad that we were good parents, I remember the ways in which I often failed them.
Everything we say… Everything we do… Everything we don’t do… Makes an impact on our children.
That is a lot of pressure! And for all the people along the way who told me that children are incredibly resilient and will get over our mistakes… You lied! (Think Maggie Smith in Sister Act!)
When you are the mom of adult children, it can be uncomfortable to see in your offspring the habits, weaknesses, and temperaments clearly stamped in your own image. (I must admit that some of them can be fun, though! Both my sons share my love of music and Landry and I like to have jam sessions when he comes home for visits.)
If I could only change one thing about how I raised my kids, it would be to find the time every single day to look into their eyes and say, “You are OK!” But in the midst of childrearing a mom often finds that she exists in a haze of weariness and exasperation. I mean, really, who doesn’t go ballistic when she walks into the bathroom in sock feet to discover two inches of water on the floor!
Where I failed in the lives of my sons, I trust for God’s grace to fill up the empty spaces with His love, His peace, His compassion.
Our younger son, Landry, was born with major heart defects and required multiple heart surgeries and heart caths throughout his childhood. Doug and I did the best we could for both boys, but since Doug was the pastor and only staff member of our church and I spent many hours away while Landry was in the hospital, our older son, Jay, got used to spending time with his Nana or different friends in the church.
Somewhere between Landry’s hospitalizations, I have a foggy memory: Jay was 4 ½, in preschool at a local area church. Doug got off of work for lunch and we decided to take Landry with us to pick up Jay. Moments when we were all together during these early years were rare and always a cause for celebration. We walked into Jay’s preschool classroom and saw that he was in costume. And he was the only student left in the classroom and was helping his teacher vacuum. We had missed the Thanksgiving Play! Jay was thrilled to see us and did not seem disappointed in the least. God bless that teacher; she made a big deal of how he helped her and he was so proud.
I was mortified!
I wish I could say that is the worst mistake we ever made as parents.
When I read the 32nd Psalm, I think,
“Blessed is the MOM whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the MOM against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
It is necessary to confess our sins to God. The psalmist points out that when he kept his sin a secret, his body wasted away. I think the same thing happens to us when we do not admit our faults to our children. Not some vague, “I know we made a lot of mistakes,” but specifics. When we try to keep some façade of invincibility, of perfection as parents with our children, we forfeit approachability. So early on, Doug and I agreed that we would fess up when we felt we had made a mistake. We apologized to our children if we lost our temper or made an impulsive decision. We asked them to forgive us. The compassion they exhibit toward us now was born in those early absolutions.
God promises to instruct us if we will be still and listen. That includes guidance in the area of balancing motherhood and ministry. We have access to the throne of grace every moment of every day. And honestly, God’s grace does make our children more amazingly resilient than they should be! He surrounds us with his love and covers a multitude of evils. Let us rejoice and be glad in Him!
Becky Brooks Jackson served as a pastor’s wife as well as a volunteer church musician and worship leader for twenty-four years before answering a personal call to ministry. When her husband, Doug, became a professor, Becky went back to school and completed a BA in Music from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2010), and an MDiv from Logsdon Seminary (2012). Between those two degrees, she trained and completed her first marathon. Becky serves as the worship leader at Lexington Baptist Church, Corpus Christi, TX. She and her husband Doug have two grown sons, Jay and Landry, and a rescued Bullmastiff named Spurgeon.