Maybe I’ve Ruined My Kids

(Note from Kat: This is a guest post from monthly contributor (and inspiring friend) Lara Williams. )

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve completely ruined my kids. I see them copying the sin that have tried to lay down over and over again, and I’m certain. I did it. I ruined them.


flickr photo credit

But here’s the really amazing thing about our God. He’s bigger than our many {many} failures.

Granted He calls us as moms to train up our kids in the ways of the Lord — continually and purposefully. And our training does have an effect. But we will not do it perfectly. At times we won’t even do it well.

But our God is bigger than our failures.

If we depend upon our list of mommy-successes to change our kids, then we flirt with parental-legalism. Only One transforms hearts. And it’s not us, no matter how perfect we try to be.

Our kids growing in the knowledge and sanctifying work of our Lord comes completely by His great grace and undeserved mercy. He allows us to be a part of the seed-planting process. But we can’t save them. And our failures aren’t bigger than our God.

When we fail, we confess. We just agree with God that in our flesh we are really stinkified. (Yeah, I made that up.) Then we stand up and move on, continuing with our imperfect reflection.

He graces every moment with new mercies.

How have you struggled with thinking your failures have ruined your kids?
What truths of God can we choose to meditate upon when those despairing thoughts arise?

Leave a Comment



  • Avatar Kat says:

    “Well there’s a day they’ll mention in therapy…” Oh, I’ve totally thought that!

    Sometimes on a daily basis… When I do, though, I remind myself that He loves them more than I do and His mercies are new every morning.

    Great truths here, Lara. Thanks!

    • Avatar Lara says:

      Ha. I have totally thought that along with, “Oh Lord make them forget.” You are precious friend. And a very inspiring mama.

  • Oh Lara how I love being in community with you ladies! Exactly what I have been struggling with lately…

    I tell myself, “of course they would speak kindly to one another if I perhaps modeled gentle words. of course they don’t give others grace b/c I expect them to be perfect”.

    Thank you for the reminder that He is a big God. He will cover my failures. I need accept His grace and move on…

  • Avatar Caroline says:

    I react instead of pausing. I just know “one day on Dr. Phil”, my children will bring up the yelling & anger. And yet, I don’t know as well. However, now I’m looking at life lessons as one teaching moment at a time. Yeah, maybe the kiddos don’t understand certain things or I have to say the same thing over & over. But if I look at it as a life lesson, hopefully their little light bulbs will go off one day!

    • Avatar Lara says:

      The pause. So key. And yes, one teaching moment at a time. Including the teaching that I too am human in desperate need of my Savior. Blessings.

    • Avatar Joyce says:

      Boy, am I glad that God is much much bigger than our failures…because I’m not sure that I like Dr. Phil enough to want to see him one day. =p

      “Only One transforms hearts. And itÒ€ℒs not us, no matter how perfect we try to be.” Love that reminder.

  • Avatar cristina says:

    this is when i pray Rom. 8:28 for them…..that they know Jesus as Savior so all my less-than-stellar contributions will grow them into Christ-likesss.

    i want to handle my own messes with honesty before them….that seeing a mom who needs a Savior will make them aware of their need for Him too!

  • Avatar Lara says:

    YES! Amen.

  • Avatar Jesica says:

    Oh, I needed to hear this! Thank you for the reminder that God is bigger than my failures! Thank God for His amazing grace!

  • Avatar Kira says:

    Exactly what I needed to read this morning!! Thank you for the Reminder!!

  • I used to feel this way about my oldest son, 24. he’s been so wayward and I think back to how I parented him as a young mom. Yet, God’s grace is sufficient…

  • Avatar Dawn says:

    Thank you for the reminder that ultimately, it’s God who is in control, not “MOM”! As the mom of 2 girls, 19 & 23…I’m so thankful our God is bigger than our failures.

    My daughters are amazing, but so often I see the “me” in them that isn’t so amazing. Just like me, they are works in progress. They are and will be all that God has planned for them.

    Now, I need to sit back and watch, and of course, keep praying.

  • Avatar Lauren says:

    I have struggled with this so! I see a LOT of me in our firstborn, especially. It took the whole last year for me to realize GOD IS BUILDING HIS KINGDOM in his children! What a relief! And a blessing. So thankful for this post as a reminder!

  • Avatar Amy Nap says:

    Ok, my kids are past veggie tales ages, however after reading this post and comments this song comes to mind..God is bigger than the boogie man, bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV, God is bigger than the boogie man, and he’s watching out for you and meeeee.
    Sorry for getting that tune stuck in you heads now, but it is a cute and simple reminder that God IS bigger than all our fears and failures. Yea his mercies are new each morning and his grace is sufficient. We have a tough job raising children, but we have all the help we need in Him. Prayer is powerful. We are all works in progress. Thank you for sharing this. It reminds me I am not alone in raising my children. If I continue to point them to God and take time to read scripture together, they will hear His message from Him not me. I need only be the introducer. GOD is bigger and able to overcome all obstacles.

  • Avatar Keya says:

    I try not to think about this much… or should I say, I try not to beat myself up about this topic much :-). I KNOW that I fall short MANY times. I know I need to relax and mind my temper sometimes. But the thing is, I try to remember (after the fact usually) that I am just a vessel. I am just a tool God uses to show love to my children (and everyone else for that matter). I will never express love perfectly and that’s okay. What makes me feel better when I have had a less than perfect mommy moment? I remember that it is God raising my kids THROUGH me, and that makes all the difference.

  • yeah, I am glad that I can trust God to work on them. If I didn’t know that He could do it I would stress lots more about my failures.

  • Avatar monica says:

    It’s so great not to be alone in these thoughts! πŸ™‚
    Amen to everything above. God bless you, and thanks for the reassurance. Soemtimes I just gotta hear it again and again….:)
    God bless–

  • Avatar reba says:

    Knowing this truth (that God is bigger than our mistakes) is the one thing that helps me as I parent with a husband who is not a believer (at least I don’t think he is yet). It is so easy to become discouraged when I see how sometimes things could be done “better” and I can so easily blame the kid’s faults on us not doing it perfectly! So silly! God is so good though to remind us that He Alone is God and He alone can save them, change them, etc.
    Just taking it one moment at a time like the rest of you. πŸ™‚ Hoping I can serve the Lord with training them well.

  • Avatar Katie says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Lara! It was a difficult mommy-ing day for me and I’m grateful to consider this before I head to bed.

  • Avatar Valerie says:

    This is an excellent reminder. I just finished the Give Them Grace book myself, and while I don’t agree with some things, she has an EXCELLENT big-picture perspective that so many of us parents need to have. I love the parenting books that are really for retraining the parents, not the children! We get trained more than our little ones, ha ha! πŸ™‚

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  • Avatar joshua says:

    I love the article..and I am a new father to be,,,,.however, then why do really awful parents tend to have awful children…does the apple not fall far from the tree?, do we not need to educate ourselves and try to be better parents…where does the line end and begin..i love and trust in the lord…but where does my job end?

    • Avatar lara says:

      I totally agree, Joshua. “The sins of the father are passed to the sons.” And our calling is to submit to God’s sanctifying work in our own lives as well as intercede by faith for our kids. However, it is so easy to fall into a pit of self-condemnation. And I know God doesn’t want us paralyzed by regret. Our role is to teach and train and reflect our Lord, but we won’t do it perfectly. And we need to remember that ultimately, their salvation is a gracious work of our God. Many blessings to you in your new journey as a dad! God will faithfully equip you in that calling.

  • Avatar lisa cabrera says:

    I am a mother who feel deeply that i have ruined my kids due to what i have put them through. I have a 16yr old son and a 14yr old daughter. I have no clue on how to stop feeling guilty.