From the very beginning of their time together, Jesus called his disciples to a life apart from the crowd. He called them to great purpose and meaning, promising to make them "fishers of men." But even before that, He called them into a relationship with Him. He extended to them the grace of His fellowship, His love, His instruction. With them He was patient, encouraging, loving, and forgiving. His whole relationship with them was built on the foundation of intimate friendship. He gave them the gift of Himself. And then He asked them to pass along that gift to the world.
We see this more and more clearly as Jesus' relationship with the disciples progressed. He wanted them to be His representatives on earth, to tell everyone the gospel of the kingdom of his Father. But He wanted them to do it through His strength and grace, not through their own power. And this was where Peter got it wrong.
Peter was a strong, active man. He was used to making decisions, being dependable. It was natural for him to assume that by his great effort he would "help" the Lord get his message to the world. Yet Jesus, knowing the need of Peter's heart, allowed him to find out differently. He allowed Peter to fail spectacularly so he would finally understand that grace was the key to serving God and his kingdom. Not by his own strength and courage, but only by God's constant grace and mercy would Peter be able to deliver Jesus' message to the world—a message that would then be wrapped in the grace and mercy he had come to know so well.
As mothers, I believe, we are called to take this lesson of grace to heart. Like Jesus, we are to draw our own children to a life apart from the rest of the crowd. Each of us is designed by God to whisper his words to the hearts of our children so they will feel the call of God in their own lives to become fishers of men." Yet we must always remember that our children, like Peter, will never be perfect. Each of them needs for us, like Jesus, to extend to him or her the gift of constant love, grace, and forgiveness. And we can only do this by relying continually on the grace of our own relationship with the Lord.
When we do this, we will live out the definition of grace and love in such a way that our message will be written on their hearts. They will understand that the God who calls them to a great task will stay with them as they strive to complete it. They will know He gives them the strength and encouragement they need—and the grace to pick themselves up when they fall. And they will know all this in part because of the hands-on grace they have experienced at home.