Parenthood, God, and Me
As a child, I spent hours dressing my dolls and dreaming of what it would like to be a mom. Reality, in almost every way, has been different than my daydreams. Funny how my cabbage patch kids never had meltdowns at the park and grocery shopping for a family is not quite as exciting as I once thought it would be. I never could have anticipated the physical, emotional, and spiritual energy that parenting requires. I also never could have imagined all of the things I would learn about the Lord, His word, and myself in the process.
Here are just five of the many truths God has taught me in the past decade and a half:
1. God Delights in Me.
I remember watching, in awe, my beautiful, sleeping babies who could do virtually nothing and loving them so deeply and profoundly for simply existing. I know my children are not perfect, but they’re mine, and they are my favorites. I love their smiles, their jokes, their hearts, and their minds. Despite all of the diapers, spit-up, tantrums, disobedience, and misunderstandings, I would give my life for them in a heartbeat (not to mention, forgoing sleep if it means hearing about their life). If I, sinful and selfish as I am, can love like this, then how much more must God love me? Surely He does “rescue me because he delights in me” (Psalm 18:19) and “rejoice over me with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). He would never give me a serpent when I ask for bread (Matthew 7:9). He knows what I need and He wants to give me good things.
2. I Am in Dire Need of the Grace of God.
As much as I love my children, there are times when they can really push my buttons. I might have once thrown a (plastic, I promise) peanut butter jar across the kitchen in one such moment of frustration. Just when I think I’ve got this parenting thing figured out, is the normally the time I get an uncomfortable phone call from another parent informing me of some situation my child was involved in, or we have a big blow up in our house, or I lose it and say something I regret. Pride surely comes before the fall. I have learned to never say, “My child would never” or “I would never.” It is better to often say, “forgive me,” and “I forgive you.” Parenting has taught me to cast everything on my perfect father who is rich in mercy and gives me grace in my time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
3. I Don’t Control the Universe.
It’s incredibly frustrating to realize that I have very little power to control another person’s sleep cycle, food aversions, and opinions about the importance of homework. I am not God. Although I carried my children in my womb, I did not form them, and my understanding of their mind, body, and soul is limited. I have very little control over the world around them. I cannot protect them from every evil word spoken against them, every negative image they might run across, every lie in our society, and every person who plans harm against them. This reality has threatened to paralyze me with fear, but it has also led me to pray like never before. Becoming a parent has reminded me that I am utterly dependent on the one who created “earth and sea and everything in them” (Psalm 146:6).
4. The Days are Fleeting.
The Bible compares life to a vapor, a fading flower, a passing shadow, and a breath, but to me, nothing else in all of life seems to point to the quickly passing nature of time like the growth of children. Aren’t we always shocked by how old they are and how tall they are getting? I’m not denying that some of the early days seem ridiculously long, but, now, with just a few years left until our oldest heads to college, the speed of it all takes my breath away. It reminds me to “number by days” (Psalm 90:12), to make the most of the time I have with them and the most of this quickly passing life.
5. We Need the Body of Christ.
My children need to experience the full body of Christ in all it’s various gifts, cultures, and ages. I am so thankful for godly young adults who model for my children what it looks like to follow God in a much cooler way than I ever could. I’m thankful that my children have peers at church who are struggling with some of the same things they are experiencing. I’m thankful for younger children who look up to them and inspire them to be role models. I’m thankful for older church members who impart wisdom to them. I am grateful to have been called to love and influence not only my own children but all of those in our church family. Together, we have an incredible mission to pass on the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord to the next generation” (Psalm 78:4).
Save the date for Waypoint’s Gospel-Centered Parenting Conference: November 2-3!