A Mom Who Keeps Her Promises
1 Corinthians 13:6-7, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects,
always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (NIV)
One day, just before the start of school, my middle son sat cross-legged on the ground, playing at the foot of my desk while I worked on the computer. Since he’d been out-thinking me from the time he was two, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the conversation that ensued.
“Mom,” he started simply. “When you were little, did Grandma ever tell you she’d get you a pony and then didn’t?”
“No, she didn’t,” I answered, fully engaged and wondering where this line of thought would go.
“Well, you told us you’d take us to Toy’s R Us this summer and you didn’t. That’s a true lie,” Dylan solidly proclaimed.
I was shocked that he remembered a promise from three months back, but more stunned by his reasoning. In the midst of being impressed by how his mind worked, I was convicted. He was right! Every time we drove past the toy store, my three little boys asked to stop and I’d put them off. It wasn’t that we didn’t have the time, but taking three boys into a toy store was pure torture. Either I should have taken them or I shouldn’t have promised we would do it.
I stopped my work, joined him on the floor, and sincerely apologized for not following through on my commitment. That little 6-year-old taught me a lesson I’m still learning: I need to keep my promises to my children!
It’s tempting to think the kids will understand when my schedule changes and it becomes inconvenient to keep a commitment. After all, they are “just” kids. Right? Wrong! I’ve discovered that after God and my husband, my children are the most important people to whom I should honor a promise.
The truth is while children may say they understand when we don’t keep a promise, depending on their ages, it’s really hard for them to fully grasp our complicated lives. All they know is they are eating a cafeteria lunch alone when mom said she’d bring a Happy Meal. Or they are in front of a TV when mom promised to take them to the park.
We all know life happens and interrupts even the best-laid plans. That’s part of what we need to teach children – to be flexible. The problem arises when it becomes a habit. A mom who consistently backs out of promises will teach her children to do the same, and will leave them insecure and possibly resentful.
To become mothers who keep their promises, we need to guard our words and follow some daily practices. Don’t make a promise simply to stop a child’s repeated requests. Carefully consider your schedule and commitments before offering to do something. Start with small promises and build up to larger ones. If the promise has to do with an outing as a family, work together as a family to get everything done before going. Look beyond a child’s words to her heart. Does her request have more to do with spending time with you than going to the park? If so, offer an alternative before you commit to something you probably can’t do.
A mother has the high calling of modeling the faithfulness of God to her children. More than words, children watch actions. Will they find a mother who keeps her promises? If so, it will lead them to a God who keeps His promises.
Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your unchanging nature. I praise You for Your faithfulness in keeping Your promises throughout the generations. Please forgive me for the times I haven’t kept my promises to the people I Iove. Help me become a person who keeps her word, even in the hard times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
work@home: A Practical Guide for Women Who Want to Work From Home by Glynnis Whitwer
The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis
Think of one promise you can make to your child(ren), or someone you love, this week. Make that promise and keep it.
When someone keeps a promise they have made to you, how does it make you feel about yourself?
What are some areas in your life where you have trouble keeping promises?
Identify some daily practices that will help you keep your promises.
2 Peter 3: 8-9, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (NIV)
1 Timothy 1:15, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 29 May 2007.