“Parenthood is a sanctification process.”
I understood the words in isolation, yet the phrase was rendering me speechless.
I read the words and felt an inexplicable stirring in my soul. These words were profound, so profound that I hadn’t yet begun to fathom their enormity. My mind stuck a figurative pin in them as something I’d have to really unpack and revisit later. I just couldn’t wrap my head around them at that moment.
Days passed, maybe even a week. It was 10:30 p.m. All homework had been completed. The kids had been fed. School lunches had been made. The kitchen had been cleaned. And the kids were finally sleeping soundly in bed with only a few unexpected interruptions.
I collapsed on the couch, ready to relax next to my husband with a small snack in hand. And as I looked down at the snack, I smiled and giggled to myself.
This. This was it. This was the moment. Remove the figurative pin. We were unpacking it, and we were unpacking it now.
There, right in the middle of the mundane, in the middle of the everyday tasks, I recognized the moment for what it was—a visual of the sanctification process of parenthood.
This snack, this sorry excuse for a sandwich, was just the example I needed to illustrate the concept that had previously left me so puzzled.
In my hand, was a plate full of scraps. Literal scraps. A paper plate decorated with a mound of discarded crusts and the messy, oozing remnants. The discarded crusts and remnants were the remains of the eight bite-sized, flower-shaped sunbutter and jelly sandwiches I had made for my daughter’s school lunch. These scraps, something I had considered discarding altogether, comprised my late-night snack.
I had lovingly gone above and beyond to make such ornate sandwich bites for her lunch, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. Yes, I was tired. Yes, it would have been easier to just plop the ingredients on two pieces of bread and haphazardly slap them together and be done with it. But knowing the sheer delight it would bring her to find such hidden treasures in her lunchbox warmed my heart and gave me just the push I needed to complete the small act of love.
So here I was, being shown evidence of my sanctification process. God was showing me just one way in which He is working to shape my heart to mirror His. And tonight, He was choosing to show me with some sorry-looking sandwich scraps. I laugh even while writing this as I marvel at how the Creator of the universe can take the time to meet me in the middle of my ordinary and so intimately work to bring things down to my level of understanding.
So, over my plate full of scraps, without saying a word, He spoke to my heart. He revealed all that He sees in me all that I seem to overlook within myself. He explained my sanctification process in terms I understood:
As a mother, each day I watch you die to yourself.
I watch you humbly put your children before yourself.
Like this week when they looked at you with their big eyes, silently begging for the last cookie you were about to sink your teeth into. Without saying a word, you broke it apart and shared it with them—just as I, without question, willingly give of Myself to you. Your actions mirrored mine.
I watch you continuously extend grace and mercy.
Like the other day when the youngest hit her sister and cried out in anguish during her timeout. You got down to her level, held her, and hugged her. You didn’t condemn her. You spoke to her lovingly and corrected her—just as I, time and time again, meet you with love and compassion in your low moments. Your actions mirrored mine.
I watch you love, care, and protect.
Like when you hold your tongue and choose to not speak ill of your husband but rather choose to speak from a place of love and kindness—a love and kindness that protects the image they hold of their father. You choose to see him not for what he did to you—you choose to see their father as I see him, as one of My beloved children. Your actions mirrored mine.
My child, because your surrendered heart is open to my touch, each day I take great pleasure in molding it, molding you to become more like Me.
So yes, my friends, parenthood is a sanctification process.
Our daily actions matter. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is meaningless.
There is purpose in it all—from the changing of diapers, to the making of school lunches, to the kissing of boo-boos.
Each action is part of His greater plan to shape our hearts to mirror His. He sees both our daily victories and our daily misses, and yet never wavers in His belief in us.
He created us for parenthood. He chose us. He lovingly looks on, giving us the strength, patience, and encouragement needed daily to keep pressing on toward the ultimate goal of our sanctification.