I am running about a day behind in posting about reading through the Bible in 90 days, but with all that we have going on right now, I am not too surprised.
Day four brought me to the end of Genesis and through the captivating story of Joseph. Depending on what is going on at the very moment in my life that I read through his story, different aspects stand out to me and this time was no different. I read straight through from where I left off on day three until Jacob's blessing, stopping briefly to consider the words that Jacob spoke over each of his sons, and then until Joseph himself died. I went back and re-read Jacob's blessing over Joseph and realized for the first time how much Jacob understood about what Joseph went through. It truly was because of God establishing and blessing Joseph that he not only made it through all of that, but that he was blessed in spite of everything else.
I always struggle with knowing that Jacob favored Joseph and what that meant for Joseph and for his siblings. I understand there was SO much baggage before Joseph was even born, but still as a parent of more than one child, it bothers me so much to read about it. Did Jacob realize what he was doing at the time? Did he see hurt and rejection in his other children's eyes when he looked at them? Did he not realize what it did to the sibling relationships, or was he repeating what his father did (favored his brother Esau over him)? I have seen how destructive favoritism can be and it is truly heartbreaking, the damage often times lasting long after the child has grown.
The more I thought about these chapters tonight and my reaction to them, the more that I realized there are literally thousands of opportunities to mess up every day as a parent. My biggest fear is that I will not see my own mistakes until it is too late to repair the damage and the child is grown and living their own life. I pray that every mistake - the ones that I am very aware of and those that I am oblivious to - will be brought to my attention so that I can deal with it daily and not sweep them under the carpet to be blind sided by them later in life. I often tell my husband I know I will be so sad when our children are grown and I pull out the journals and pictures. I don't mind knowing that I might be sad because with any great joy there will be sadness once it is over. I just do not want to regret any of it. I don't want to look back and say "wow I was so busy doing _______ that I completely missed ___________" or "UGH I lost their heart because I got so caught up in trying to change their behavior". I do not want to live with the reality that I squandered the days that I have been given now.
I am working myself out of a job, every parent is. I will not always be the teacher or the authority figure in their life, but I hope that to them I will always be a soft place to land when life gets rough. That they know that their Daddy and I will remain their biggest cheerleaders and that our prayers will surround them long after our arms cannot.