Friday, July 28, 2017

My Third Priority

I love my three daughters with all my heart.

My oldest, R, begins high school in less than two weeks. She knows Jesus and sincerely wants to please him. She loves a good show tune and to shoot her bow. She rereads books she loves and appreciates time to herself.

My middle, P, is poised to start the 3rd grade, even if she isn't all that excited about it. While she is social and loves the spotlight, her attention span is on the short side and finds it hard to stay focused sitting at a desk all day. She loves her Legos and a good knock-knock joke.

My youngest, E, will turn 4 in September. She is my laid back sidekick. She adores her baby dolls and anything Disney princess. She has definitely discovered her voice. As a result, we never have to wonder what she is thinking as she emphatically explains everything with dramatic hand gestures.

Most of the time, I delight in spending time with each and all of them. (That's kinda tricky to say as summer vacation draws to a close - but I will miss them when the school bells start ringing again.) I appreciate being able to care for them whether doing the daily load of laundry or heating up corn dogs in the microwave.

I would do anything for them. Like most parents, I would lay down my life for my children. I will defend them, advocate for them, and discipline them. (I would argue that disciplining them is the hardest, most loving thing I can do for them.)

I pray for them, as Paul described, without ceasing. R, I disciple as my younger sister in Christ. P and E, having not made decisions to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord, I seek to plant seeds of faith in, looking for every opportunity to intentionally point them to Jesus.

Despite all my love for and devotion to my girls, on top of all the caring, serving, sweat and tears - they are not my first priority in life. They aren't even my second.

My children are my third priority.

Our culture may not understand that. Certain segments of our society would condemn me for it, but I make no apologies.

From both a biblical perspective and my own experiences, when my girls come third, they only benefit.

My first priority is my relationship with Christ. My second is my relationship with their daddy. When these two relationships have been given their deserved attention - my daughters only gain.

It is in my relationship with Christ, I can see them through God's perspective. It is through the presence of the Holy Spirit within me, that the fruits of patience, kindness, gentleness and more are produced. By seeking Him first, I can know that my identity is NOT in my role as a mother, but as His loved child.

By loving their father well, (see my last post), the girls get a real life picture of how Christ loved His Bride, the church, and gave Himself up for her. They have the stability of a two parent home with all the study proven benefits that come with it. I am also blessed to have a front row seat of the picture my husband gives them of a gracious, loving Heavenly Father. It is in this relationship that there is a  deeper understanding of how God loves each of His children.

As my third priority, the girls are my first mission field. By living together, they see and know my good, my bad and my ugly. I can honestly say I have never had to apologize so many times to anyone else ever. I have faith that God's grace covers my short comings and He can use me in their lives in spite of myself. Again showing my need for my first priority to be my first priority.

As our family is gearing up for a running start to the new school year, this is what I want my third priority to know. That they are third and for the best reasons.  The world and this life isn't about them. It is about restoring the creation to its Creator.... That lesson starts at home. Our house doesn't revolve around them. We want it to revolve around Jesus.

My extended family, my job, my Sunday school class, my church, my friends - everything else gets shuffled into the rest of my time.

Please don't think I've got this all figured out all of the time. Too often an outsider would struggle to identify these things as my top three priorities by just observing my actions and my attitudes. I cling to the fact I am a work-in-progress and one day, He will finish the good work He has begun in me. . .

Until then, these are my goals, my priorities, my prayers....


Laura said...

Beautiful! and Thank you!

Tara said...

Thank you Laura! The encouragement means so much and it is really good accountability to me!