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The Refining Fire

Zechariah 13:9

This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.”

When I worked as an adult leader in my church’s youth group, I had confidence in myself as a Christian teacher. But that was before I had kids of my own. Now, as a mother, I know that there was a lot I didn’t know about raising kids. I didn't know that God would teach me through my kids.

God gives children to couples as a blessing. Before you smile and give a happy sigh, let me first explain “blessing”.

My kids are both obedient and challenging. They’re affectionate and frustrating. No matter how adorable they are in the morning, by bedtime they will have had ample opportunity to make me pull out my hair.

Many mothers will agree that having kids changes your life. What nobody told us when we were pregnant was that God will use these children to test your mettle.

God loves to bring us closer to Him, and closer to who He intended us to be. If we look in the mirror and see ourselves as a shiny gold rock, but we were intended to be a beautiful solid gold sculpture which was crafted with intricate details as delicate as a butterfly’s wing, then God’s got some work to do in us.

He has to throw us into the fire and refine us.

We were already valuable to him when we were cut from the mountain, but we’re even more valuable when we allow ourselves to be refined in His fire and sculpted by His hands.

God gives some people children to bless them with a refining process. He doesn’t tell us this is what motherhood is about, but if we’re smart, we’ll allow Him to use our children to help us grow up.

When you can look back on your life and see the changes God has made in you through your difficult mothering moments, you can give the glory to God and honor Him. His fingerprints are on you.

For example, if your child wouldn’t go to bed when you directed him to, you could resort to reading, storytelling, or less fun ways to get the child to stay in bed. When I’m faced with a “kid challenge”, I often see God’s finger pointing at me. I can see reminders of times when I’ve not been where I should’ve been. He shows me that He dealt with me gently, but firmly.

God doesn’t give in to us when we throw a fit, and parents shouldn’t lower their standards because a child wants them to. But we should see the lesson He wants to show us in our struggle. We should take notice that we’re being purified and tested and sculpted into something beautiful.

When God’s refining is more complete in me than it is right now, I want others to see that God claims me as His own. I want them to see that I claim the Lord as my God. His refining fire will make His presence in me more obvious.

If it takes raising kids for me to be blessed with that purifying fire, then I say, “Thanks, God, for the privilege of being in Your hands as I work through these mothering challenges.”

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