It had been a really terrible, awful, hard day. So hard that I sat and cried. And yet, it brought me to the end of myself. And that was a good thing.
When I finished crying, I sat down to do some work and happened upon a story about Andrew Carnegie that completely changed my perspective as a mom and as a child of God.
Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America in the early 1900s, so wealthy that he employed over 42 millionaires. When asked how he developed these men to become so valuable that he would pay them that much money, Carnegie explained that “men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt — one goes in looking for gold.”
I’d been buried in the dirt that day. I was lost in the monotony of motherhood and felt like my days had no meaning. My discouragement and feelings of failure as a mom left me so disappointed in myself. And I was convinced God felt the same way about me.
I started wishing I had a gold-miner in my life who could see beyond my mistakes and find the gold in me. That’s when God whispered to my heart, “Renee, I am that gold-miner. You are the one who is so critical of yourself. You are the one who focuses on your faults. But I see the gold of My image in your heart, and I want to bring it to the surface so your kids can see Me in you.”
As I sat there trying to process what God was whispering to my heart, stories from the Bible started flooding my thoughts helping me believe that God really does see beyond who I am to who I can become.
That day God used His thoughts to give me a new perspective – of Himself and of myself. Then He challenged me to look for ways to transfer that perspective to my children.
It’s easy to get buried in the dirt of discontentment, disobedience and discouragement. You may even be thinking, Where’s the gold in it all? I wondered, too. But after reading Carnegie’s story and hearing God speak to my heart, I wanted to become a gold-mining mom.
As I thought about the gold I wanted to see in my children, character traits of Christ such as patience, kindness and contentment came to mind. I decided to make a list of golden attitudes and actions and look up Bible verses we could learn together. Then I made gold nuggets by balling up foil and spray-painting them gold.
In the following weeks, each time my kids showed a golden attitude or action, I’d reward them. When they saved up enough nuggets, they’d get a special treat. We also found new character traits and Bible verses, wrote down ideas to live them out and started making them part of our family devotions.
It took time for me to embrace a grace-based parenting perspective and let God’s new truths sink in. But I was so excited about having a spiritual focus as a mom. I started getting creative and about finding time in the midst of my busy days to get into His Word and get His word into me. And as I did, He used His thoughts to re-shape mine.
God’s Word became a part of our everyday lives as He taught me to take my eyes off of my children’s habits and focus on their hearts. Not only did it change my kids’ attitudes and actions, it changed me, too. For the first time in months, I was excited about my role as a parent. God had given me a new perspective, and a whole new sense of purpose as a mom!
Lord, thank You for not focusing on the dirt in my life but seeing beyond who I am to who I can become. Help me believe that, receive that and give it away to my kids, my husband and my friends. Help me look at their hearts and encourage the glimpses of You that I see in them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Portions of this post are in my book, A Confident Heart.
Copyright 2011. Baker Publishing. All rights reserved.
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