I've been repeating myself all weekend.
Now that I think about it, I've been saying the same things over and over again a lot lately...and really, for the last 11 years to be exact.
"Put away your shoes."
"Wash your hands."
"Clear your plate and rinse the dishes."
"Did you finish your chores?"
"You need to apologize to your brother."
"How do you ask nicely?"
...just a few of things I've said repeatedly over the years.
By the 468,237th time I said, "Throw your dirty socks in the hamper, not on the floor!" a few years back, I began to realize that no amount of irritation in my voice would actually prevent me from having to speak those words again. Repetition and review is a reality --a law-- of teaching and training. It's a good thing. We don't need to be shocked when we must train our children in the same things again and again.
Repetition was not beneath the apostle Paul:
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. (Philippians 3:1)
Neither was it for the apostle Peter:
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder. (2 Peter 1:12-13)
If these godly men repeated themselves in the training and teaching of their flock, so should I. The little sheep in my home are no less in need of patient guiding and reminding than the churches to whom these letters were written.
Did you catch that? Speaking the truth over and over again is not inconvenient...it's sheltering. And this: That repeating oneself is considered loving when it isn't perfection that motivates us, but the person who is being formed under our care.
The problem is, we are mothers who so often seek to find perfection apart from The Perfecter. We are so easily persuaded to gauge our happiness by how close we are to nearing the threshold of perfection, how far we've come to perfecting our own children, and how successful we've been at perfectly preventing further catastrophes of imperfection. You see, we make ourselves miserable when we set our own standard of perfection, and consider our children capable of a track record we, ourselves, are unable to keep.
There are no shortcuts to child-rearing, and there certainly is nothing of true perfection this side of heaven.
Christ is committed to perfecting the person he's redeemed us to be in himself. That is our hope and peace, as moms who sometimes long for a shortcut.
And so, let us continue to do the hard work of training our children to pick up their toys, follow through with their chores, to listen and obey...but let us do so with Christ's example in mind: Prioritizing the person in whom molding and training is being perfected day by day.
We can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that we are free and blessed to repeat ourselves today...and tomorrow...and the next day. That our work will not be done until Christ is through with us, as he shapes and molds us as mothers, one day and one reminder at a time.
May He be our strength...
Because of Grace,