Warning to Self: Don’t Make your Child your Idol

I heard my daughter’s heartbeat at 10 weeks gestation. The midwife told us that 10 weeks was still early and prepared us for the possibility of not hearing that little thump on that visit. But the sound was loud, crisp and perfectly clear as soon as the Doppler device was applied. My daughter’s heartbeat was music to me ears on that day. I loved it then as much as I love her contemplative, determined, yet easily pacified ways today. As I write, I’m blessed with the gift of two adorable daughters who, together, make their mother’s heart beat.

I love my children easily and naturally and of course there is nothing wrong with that. But I also have a heart that is desperately idolatrous and prone to leave the God I love. Whenever I place my full satisfaction in something created, whenever I wholly delight my mind in something made, whenever I wrap my value and identity in someone or something apart from Christ, I have molded an idol.  And regrettably, these self-made gods are easily made. Evidence of the residual effects of the fall that remains even in the justified heart (Romans 7:14-25).

I can’t be naive then to think that my natural love for my children cannot morph into worship. And beyond that, my desire to raise them into godly offspring can itself be idolized. This latter idol is more covert but just as real. Perhaps it hides well under the Biblical mandate to train and admonish our children in godliness (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4). We agree of course that this God-given commandment is good but in our weak attempt to obey, we can make the “godliness of our children” our utmost delight and pride—this as oppose to obeying God chiefly for His honor.

Writing in her book, Treasuring Christ when your Hands are Full, Gloria Furman offers this thought:

The gifts that God gives us serve this holy purpose—to direct our praise to the giver of those gifts. If you enjoy the gift of your children…but your joy terminates in those gifts, then you’ve missed the point of the gifts.[1]

I don’t want to miss the point. I want to be a mother who cares well for the temporal needs of her children while stretching her eyes beyond today to see eternity. I want to praise God as He enables me to view my mothering as participation in His ultimate work of bringing all thing under Christ and not the “kindergarchy” of my home (Ephesians 1:9-10). I want to sing of His perfect strength as He uses the weakness of a mother’s love and discipline in the salvation and sanctification of her children.

So I’m praying for my heart even as I write this post: Lord, please help me to love Jesus more than my children. Please help me to tear down the intruding idols. I know that this will only happen as I worship, pray and think deeply about the Gospel. Give me grace to remember that Jesus Christ is my all surpassing treasure (Matthew 13:45-46). Help me to understand and cherish the Gospel and let it pull my heart to Christ and make Him the chief joy of my affections. I don’t want to love my children less, I want to love them better—with an enduring love that displays and glorifies Your own persevering passion for Your own. Yes and amen.


[1] Furman, Gloria, Treasuring Christ when your Hands are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2014), 31.