Yours Before Mine

I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but if someone lends me a book, I’m really careful with it. I don’t break the spine, and I don’t bend the pages. I hold it carefully and I never put it near anything that could spill on it or spoil it.

I do this for a few reasons. First of all I love books. I like the smell of printed paper and the feel of  the crispness of an unspoiled book. I like the glossy cover and the pristine look about an unspoiled book.

Also, I have a responsibility to the person who lent it to me. As it’s on loan, I know they will want it back, and it belongs to them. They might not mind how long I keep it, but it’s still not mine. So, I consider what state they want it in when I return it. I know I would want it back pretty much as I had lent it.

So, I enjoy it, take care of it, return it to its rightful owner in the condition I think they would be happy with.

Okay, okay, so what? So you take care of books, I hear you wondering.

But it was this fact that came to my mind when I hit a low this weekend.

I have two beautiful, strong willed, determined children. Vibrant and spunky, smart and funny.

And if you have any of these characteristics in your own children, then you’ll know what else comes with this territory.

The determination, which is sometimes at all costs, can be a tiring characteristic.

The strength of will that leads to determination at all costs can be exhausting when everything becomes a battleground. And I mean everything.

Vibrant people are not quiet, passive people. They are not lolling around in sleepy eyed silence. You can definitely see them and hear them, and they make their presence felt.

And if you’re not that kind of person, well…being around that kind of person can be either inspiring, or debilitating. And often, there’s no in between.

So that’s where I have found myself.

Overwhelmed by these small people with enormous personalities, and loaded to the hilt with big-gun characteristics that make me just feel like I’m failing, or flailing…or probably both.

And if you’re quietly whispering to yourself That’s my child!, then maybe you totally get me.

But here is the danger, the exhaustion of it all can lead you to inwardly dwell. The focus turn to self.

What can I do?!!

Why can’t I control them?!!

Why am I failing?!!

And we forget the little people, with the little unsaved souls, and the desperate need they have for a saviour more than a mama who has them well and truly pinned under the thumb of absolute obedience.

Because what is obedience without faith? What is law without grace? What is justice without mercy?

And so here I find myself, as I pray for my little people, remembering how I see books! Books of all things! My children are worth so much more than books….a book I can replace, I can buy again…but here is the principle: just like a loaned book, so are my children. They are not  mine more than they are His.

I do not have children to make myself look good.

I do not have children to help me rack up ‘good mummy’ points on some scoreboard.

children are a heritage from the Lord Psla

I have these children on loan. I cannot control their future, their destiny, their choices. I cannot be sure they will be or do what I want or expect. I cannot be sure how long they are even here on earth for. Their lives, their times, are in His hands.

And however much I love them, ache for them, dream for them, He loves them more. Psalm 139:13-14 tells us that He made them. He knitted them together into the little people they are.

So what of my job then? What is my part? My role? My responsibility in all this?

I am to love them, and the best way I can do this is to point them constantly, consistently, to the One who made them. I am to:

provide for them, feed them, clothe them, take care of all their physical needs (1 Timothy 5:8)

train them in the way of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6)

discipline them in Godly ways that point them to Jesus (Ephesians 6:4)

teach them everything they need to know about the Lord and what Jesus did for them (Ephesians 6:4)

And what of me? What happens to the constant I that rears its ugly head when I fail, or let myself down, or when things don’t go according to MY plans? Or when I find myself unwittingly searching for mummy kudos in the eyes of my peers and the generations of parents that went before me?

I keep my feet on the Rock and my eyes on Jesus. I keep myself in the Word. I pray.

And when I do these things, when I am diligent in these things, then the invisible ‘Who is the Best Mama’ leaderboard melts into total obscurity. It becomes nothing, because instead of checking out the competition, we’re checking in with the One who loves those small hands and faces more than I could ever imagine.

If you’re like me today, Mama, and you’ve been trying to keep your children like squeaky clean books that everyone might ooh and aah at, then pray with me. That the Lord will keep us humble, and help us to remember that they were His before they were ours.

Grace and Love

Helen x


Shared with Mom 2 Mom, Whole-Hearted Home, Cornerstone Confessions,


  1. Such a great perspective! Praying that it encourages many more mothers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m an adoptive mom, which is still a mom, but I think the borrowed book analogy really is a great reminder that I’m not supposed to leave a huge mark on her life, Christ is. Thank you for this reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mihaela Echols says:

    What an awesome example you have in the beginning. If we borrow it we should take care of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This will be such a blessing to so many moms – and to all women

    Liked by 1 person

  5. perfect! all you can do is show them Christ and trust that they will have the seed planted in their hearts and continue to choose to trust Christ as they mature into adults

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I get you! I was always the quiet, obedient child–and God blessed me with outgoing, vibrant, extroverted, nothing held back children. I like your reminder that they’re his before ours–it’s not about our Mama points, it’s about teaching them to glorify him.


  7. I remember the days when I had to remind myself why I was raising my children. I taught them obedience so they would be obedient to God, kindness so they could love others more fully, and other lessons. There was a constant pull between teaching them so I looked good or teaching them to have integrity as they lived their lives for God. Now I’m watching with delight my daughter teaching her children. This is a valuable post. I wish I could have read it thirty years ago.


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