what is good? really. {a mother’s evolving perspective}

I tucked them into bed last night as usual. The youngest stalled with about 43 questions — which honestly had me internally, severely irritated. But he finally laid there quiet enough for me to pray with him. At which time I confessed my bad attitude.

Then out of nowhere the thought hit me like a ton of bricks. The thought that causes a mama’s heart to nearly stop beating. The thought of them growing up and living in this fallen world full of inevitable suffering.

I stroked his hair as the thought drifted, but my throat had that lump in it that makes it impossible to speak. That fierce mother-love twisted all up in me.

We want good things for our kids. We want them to experience blessing. We want others to treat them kindly. We want them to make a difference. We want them to smile. We want good. But…what is good? Really.


The Road to Tomorrow (and Happy 2009!)
flickr photo credit


Is “good” when we walk the path of ease?
Or have a life filled with material wealth?
Or live free from pain, betrayal, or rejection?

If so, then we can’t categorize Jesus’ existence on this earth as “good.”


He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:3


This is the One we follow. And if my kids follow after this One that they’ve so innocently named as Lord of their lives, then the path won’t be easy. Trials and sufferings will try, prove, and refine their faith. (James 1:2-4)

But when I think back over my life, the times that I would label as the greatest “good” are the times when I’ve walked most intimately with God. And the times when I’ve walked most intimately with God are the times when circumstance stripped everything else away.


My prayers for them have changed over the years. Granted I want them healthy. I want them loved. I want them to enjoy this gift of life. And I still ask Him for those things. But more than any other desire, I desperately long for them to walk intimately with their Maker…even if it means they must tread the valleys to get there.

He loves them more than I do. They’re His. So I want to trust Him to faithfully draw them to Himself in His perfect time and by His matchless ways.

(Now remind me of that when they’re teenagers trying to “find themselves.” OK?!)

Fill me, Lord…

How do you define “good”?
What is your greatest desire for yourself or for your kids?


  • Nina Wiggs

    That’s so perceptive. It took me longer than you in my parenting walk to discover exactly what you’ve written here. I, like you, have found that we are not immune to participating in the sufferings of Christ, while here on this Earth. I’ve learned rather than just pray, “protect” them, to pray, “Be BIG in their lives, Lord.”…Sometimes I realize that the trust I’m having to muster up is lying dormant in me, just for the raising. That it is an action required of me as a parent when yielding my (now grown) children to HIS care. I realize, though it’s difficult to imagine, God loves them even more than I. I can trust Him with them, come what may.

    • Nina, thank you. I greatly respect your comment because, though I don’t know you personally, I know that both of your girls truly love the Lord. I will be using your words, “Be BIG in their lives.” That is such a great prayer. Thank you!!!

  • It’s so radical to think that suffering is good. But, when we walk with God, all is absolutely redeemed for good. Those times of suffering are truly the sweetest and I wouldn’t trade it. Even though it comes with pain.

    I, too, hate to think about my children walking through the suffering, but I deeply desire for them to reep the relationship with Him that will not be obtained without it!

  • I want my life to live the good life. A life full of challenge because with challenge comes growth and development. A life full of love that is without condition. I want them to know that everything is ALL GOOD because everything comes from God and He is all GOOD all the time! Thanks for sharing!

  • L. Sherrard

    This is great insight that us certainly in line with scripture. For Good Friday a couple of weeks ago I attended a simulcast on the Secret Church with David Platt, a pastor and the author of Radical. He did a bible study on “suffering” and what the bible says from Genesis all the way to Revelation. It was a marathon study. Book after book in the bible the evidence is clear, suffering is part of the Christian walk. Christ came to suffer for our sins, as his servants we cannot expect any less. Although it might seams strange something the closer we try to walk in his steps the more suffering and persecution we feel. It is all part of God’s plan for us. It may be hard at times but his plans are always perfect. This is a hard pill to swallow especially if our kids are involve in this suffering. By the Lords grace we can walk it if he leads us there. We just need to keep looking straight ahead, to the other shore were our Savior stands victorious.

  • beth jennings

    Great words from Larry Crabb in a prayer for his granddaughter that speak to your thoughts…”Please, Lord, shield her from every useless trial, protect her from pointless pain, but—grant me the courage to mean this–allow whatever dreams to shatter that will release her heart to meet Yours, that will empower her to rest in Your ecstatic love, no matter how empty and desperate she may feel. Reveal the beauty of Your life to her and through her, whatever it takes. But, Lord, I beg you—be very gentle.”

    • Beth, I love that prayer! I am going to have to print it out. Thanks for sharing!