To My Third Child: I’m Sorry, Not Sorry

As I watch you dressing up the dog to play superhero with you (again), I think an apology might be in order. 

So, here it goes: 

  • I’m sorry you have very few playdates and even fewer friends your age.
  • I’m sorry that I can’t remember all the species of dinosaurs and I’ve lost interest in space.
  • I’m sorry that our car rides have exposed you to more Bon Jovi than Bible songs.
  • I’m sorry that you don’t know what happens “If You Give a Pig a Pancake.”
  • I’m sorry you learned the word butt instead of bottom.
  • I’m sorry that your baby book was never purchased.
  • I’m sorry that you’ve hung out at more ballparks than birthday parties.
  • I’m sorry that I lost my Room Mom mojo two kids ago.
  • I’m sorry that you’re better versed in Captain America than Curious George.
  • I’m sorry for shorter bedtime stories and rushed prayers.
  • I’m sorry about your college fund (like, really sorry).

But, along with all that, there are a few things I’m not sorry for:

  • I’m not sorry that I hate the smelly zoo only slightly less than nasty waterparks.
  • I’m not sorry that we believe in routinely skipping bedtime for snow cones and a movie night.
  • I’m not sorry for finally realizing that your actions don’t define me.
  • I’m not sorry that our family believes in including others, even when it’s easier to exclude.
  • I’m not sorry that we will tirelessly remind you that your identity comes from the Lord, not your peers.
  • I’m not sorry you have two older siblings who would move heaven and earth to protect you.
  • I’m not sorry that I’m out on rescuing my kids from every hard place headed their way.
  • I’m not sorry that I’ll pick your dad over you. Every. Single. Time.
  • I’m not sorry that I have finally started parenting from a place of chasing Jesus instead of chasing significance.
  • I’m not sorry that I’m refusing the urge to make our family look perfect from the outside.
  • I’m not sorry that I’ve had two practice runs at parenting and I’ve shown up now with a little perspective.
  • And I’m not sorry for finally understanding what people mean when they say how fast it goes . . . so I’m determined to do this go-round laughing louder and loving even harder.

The words above were written on a day when I was so consumed with all I had to do that I could hardly breathe. 

As I sat there working, my sweet third child caught my eye across the room. He was playing dress-up with the dog because, well, the dog was his only option. 

My thoughts started swirling: I need to do better and play more, read more, sign him up for more activities—just do more for him.

God works in you

If you’re like me, it seems there are so many places in life where I allow myself to focus on where I’m getting it wrong instead of looking for how God is getting it right. Where I have somehow allowed an exaggerated sense of my own importance and forgotten the truth of God’s omnipotence. 

For me, that day it was parenting (which is especially fitting at the end of summer, when we’ve spent countless hours with our kids, doing and saying things that are way outside of our best parenting aspirations). 

But, for you, it may be work, your marriage, ministry opportunities, or a whole number of places where you’ve decided you aren’t getting it right and you’ve got to somehow do more. Either way, the truth is the same: Jesus does not need our performance to make his work successful. 

He tells us this much: 

  • Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20 NLV).
  •  “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).  

Stop for a minute to reflect on where you’re beating yourself up for not doing enough. Make some notes, like I did above, on where you wish you were doing better, but also on the ways you can see the Lord working in your life and getting it right. 

You are enough

And then can we agree to give ourselves a break? 

Can we stop just long enough to remember that God is sovereign and that he ultimately has complete control over our kids, our jobs, our lives . . . and has numbered each of our days? 

Can we take the pressure off ourselves and lighten up just long enough to see how God’s forming and shaping us for his great purposes? 

Can we remind ourselves that he’s got our kids in the very palm of his hands, and he loves them infinitely more than we can even fathom? 

I hope that, as we approach the end of the summer, you can be encouraged in some of the discouraging places in your life. Rest in the perspective that the God of the universe is on your side. He’s for you and he wins. 

And he makes no apologies for that.