Tar and Pitch

Raising children puts me at odds with time. When they’re young I feel they’ll never grow up.  When they’re old I beg time to slow down. Time is rarely on my side when it comes to motherhood. Just when I start to get the hang of it, they’re nearly ready to move out!
My children are becoming more independent. “Family” competes with sporting events, friends and rigorous academic schedules.  Soon, my teenage boys will leave home for college, start their careers and perhaps start families of their own. It’s exciting to envision but it also tugs at my heart.  I’m filled with many questions – Have I taught them everything I should have? Are they ready to leave home? Did I lead them to the heart of God? Perhaps every parent is faced with those questions as children become more autonomous.

One of my favorite mothers in the Bible is that of Moses. At the time of his birth the Israelites were in captivity in Egypt. To control the growing Israelite population, the king had declared that all of the male babies be killed at birth.  In Exodus 2, scripture tells about the brave faith shown by Moses’ mother as she defied the Pharaoh’s order and trusted God with her child.
"Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile."  Exodus 2:1-3, NIV
There is a lesson in Moses’ mother.  Notice what she did as she trusted God and prepared to release her child into an unknown world.  She got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. I imagine her strong hands working diligently to make that basket waterproof and secure.  With each stroke of the tar brush I see her praying over his life and petitioning God to protect her son. As she coated the basket, can you imagine the soft words she may have spoken to her baby, assuring him God would provide and protect?
Tar and pitch – a messy, thick coating on the basket to protect it from harm.  She didn’t know what his destiny would entail, but her preparation was purposeful and she sent him off with confidence God would finish the work.
What does it look like for us to tar and pitch a basket today?
Pray for your children. Pray with them. Pray they will know the God who saves. Tar and pitch.
Speak life to them. Encourage them in God’s Word. Strengthen them with scripture. Tar and pitch.
Set boundaries. Model responsibility. Require obedience. Tar and pitch.
Teach them about God’s faithfulness, His grace, and his unending love for us. Tar and pitch.
Is the effort worth it?  I believe it is.  Moms, let us be about the purposeful work of parenting, even when it’s messy – the tar and pitch of preparing them for adulthood.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6, NIV