Since my children first began to make requests, and I had to start saying “no,” I have been careful to avoid the words, “I promise!”
“Mom, will you read to me?”
“I can’t right now.” The child looks disappointed. “But when I’m done with clean-up, I’ll read to you. I promise!”
“Let’s go on an ice cream date, Mama!”
“That sounds special! But dad is waiting for us at home.” More disappointment. “I’ll take you next weekend, though. I promise!”
I know how robust my kids’ memories are, and how flabby mine is. I know life happens and good ideas don’t always become reality. Children don’t forget promises. Adults usually do. We’ve all heard the complaints from children whose parent didn’t follow through: “But Mom! You promised!“
Instead of saying, “Yes of course…I promise!” to my kids, I like to say, “Let’s do that after dinner. Will you please remind me if I forget?” or “I would love to do that, but I don’t know if it will work out. Let’s talk again tomorrow and see where we are at.”
But even though I am careful about making promises to my children, they still have big expectations of what I will do for them. I often disappoint them with careless words spoken in haste, or a weak memory that doesn’t come through in time.
This month we are teaching our Grace Kids that God ALWAYS keeps his promises.
God doesn’t need to be reminded of what he promised. And he doesn’t have to avoid making promises either. Whether it is a promise for today, or a promise we look forward to in our futures, we can be confident that he won’t ever forget what he said. He has every intention to fulfill his promises, and the power to do so, too!
If you are a parent like me who struggles to do what you say, let your weakness be a beacon of hope that points your children to their dependable, trustworthy, and kindhearted Father. When you fail to keep a promise, set it right by reminding your kids that though you will probably keep forgetting, God incredibly never will!
God, thank you that your words to me are never empty. Thank you for remembering what you tell me, and remembering what I ask you–even when I don’t remember that myself! I am so glad you remember me. Remind me of your promises, and give me eyes to see the ways you remember me and fulfill your words to me every day.