Mulligans and Do-overs

     I still regret yelling at my children and throwing my arms up in frustration.  I still regret being embarrassed over bad behavior as if my children were reflections of my parenting skills.  I still regret making a clean house a priority and not taking more time for fun.  I wish there were do-overs in the world of parenting.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could push the delete button and rewrite the regrets of life! 

     When I took up golf several years ago, I was delighted that second chances were allowed…only because I was the master of swing and miss!  In golf, a mulligan is a second drive off the tee if the first swing is bad.  Mine usually was.  The best part about mulligans is there’s no penalty for missing and trying again.  Mulligans work only in the world of golf; in the circuit of life there’s no room for do-overs.  As a mother of adult children, I look back on life with lots of regrets.  I cringe thinking about slamming a bedroom door because of lost sleep.  I cringe thinking about words spoken in anger or haste.  I cringe thinking about being too busy to really listen. I  hope they don’t remember.

     Oh, the times I failed to be the mother I wanted to be…or what others expected me to be!   My only hope was leaning on Jesus.  He had a way of filling in the gaps where I failed.  I learned to pray more desperately after I had children.  At times the task was too demanding, so I learned to talk to Jesus about all my concerns.  Lamentations 2:19 became the theme of my life, “Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children.” 

     My hands were lifted up in desperation many times.  I would take my children’s pictures off the wall and pace the floor praying for them.  I knew I couldn’t do this parenting thing alone.  Some may claim I had an advantage with children nearly ten years apart in age.  But whether you have an only child or four preschoolers, Jesus is your lifeline.  Hold on to Him and His Word, and you’ll see the fruit of your labor.  Having two sons that walk with Jesus is all I ever wanted for “I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in truth. ”  I’ve admitted to our sons that they made their mom and dad look good.  They really turned out pretty well considering all the mistakes we made.  The Bible tells us in Jeremiah to not boast about our wisdom, strength or riches but to boast that we understand and know the Lord.  I boast that we were in a life giving relationship with Jesus Christ, and He did the work that was needed to cause my children to choose Him.  My part was to pray.

     So if you’ve got some regrets as a mom and wished you had some mulligans, remember this.  God will fill in the gaps of human failure when you rely on the One who makes all things new.

6 thoughts on “Mulligans and Do-overs

  1. Karen,

    Suzanna and I just received this via email from my mom, it brought tears to my eyes. For what it’s worth, I remember your parenting as graceful and patient. I realize I was only a child, but I always found your home quite peaceful and full of love. Thank you for writing this. It was a very inspiring and much needed read.

    Aaron and Suzanna

  2. As your loving big sister and friend, I know your heart and know that you sought the Lord constantly in every aspect of the parenting of your children. You and David were role-models for many, and your Christian sons are the fruit of your intercessory prayers, parenting and love. Erik and Darren are not only following the Lord but are serving Him and being used by Him in the ministry. Your sons have a blessed heritage, as you and I also have. In my opinion, you were the best mom and dad ever! Lots of Love, Lorraine

  3. Karen, someone has apparently hacked into your blog and is writing in your place…crazy stuff about you yelling at your kids. I knew it must surely be a mistake LOL
    Seriously, if only I could “grow up” to be just like you…an inspiration….thank you for showing your beauty, as well as admitting your faults! I REALLY needed this today!

  4. Karen,

    Thank you for the inspiration that you are. Thank you for being honest (though I really can’t imagine you slamming a door or speaking in anger). This really encouraged me – God is able to undo the effects of all my parenting blunders and keep my children in Him, in spite of my mistakes and inconsistencies. I just need to seek Him constantly and bring everything to Him in prayer.
    I am so glad you started this blog. I’ve missed your teaching and this will help me get at least some of it again!! God bless you!

  5. Karen,

    This is exactly what I needed today. I am one who knows my greatest joys and failures start and end with my children. I believe that for the most part I am a good Mother, but when I make mistakes, they seem to be real whammies. Then as surely as if I am sitting here, regret always comes rushing in like a flood. I am quick to anger, when I am lied to, or when they cross a line they know they shouldn’t cross. I pray for patience and for the most part, I do have it, but lately I have been struggling. Having two middle school boys, has been a constant test. I thank you for your wisdom and honesty, besides my Mother, whom is my role model as a parent, you are one I look to for advise. Thanks again.

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