To all the parents who are just about to lose it … take a minute and read this!
It was the perfect storm. First the kids were out for Christmas (sounds good so far, right?), then a huge snowstorm came right at the end of their break keeping them out of school for another week and making travel with a minivan impossible, then record-breaking cold weather forced us all to stay inside. Add a little runny nose into the mix, a frozen water pipe, a few huge pending projects at work and voila! I remember lying in bed, thinking, “This too shall pass.” Then it hit me. It will. One day I’ll walk into my children’s empty rooms wishing they would make time for me even though I didn’t for them.
I get it.
It’s easy to sink into dread as you realize a stable home is a pipe dream because of your own instability. How in the world do we figure out how to raise kids when we haven’t even figured ourselves out?
Let me offer a thought and three encouragements.
What if this IS the purpose … ?
Parenting isn’t just the shaping of our kids; it is the shaping of us. Much of the “nasty” in us gets squeezed out in the pressure of life, IF we allow God to shape us. This is beautiful and awful all at the same time. So let me encourage you.
1. Don’t quit. As a pastor I know a lot of people who have walked out or have been walked out on. When you are in the thick of parenting, don’t quit! When you desperately need a breather, find a friend, family member or even a church family to help navigate the really difficult seasons of parenting. Take breaks, but don’t give up!
2. You don’t have to be perfect! Just look to the One who is. When I mess up, and it is often, I take the time to talk to my kids about my frailties and how I am still learning. Don’t fake perfection. They will see through it and as they age you will lose credibility. They may even consider you a liar. Just point to Jesus. And if you have a bad day, there’s a new day to follow, another chance to start fresh — “his mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).
3. This may sting — your kids’ hope shouldn’t ultimately be in you. Be a role model, be involved, raise them right, but know that ultimately this means pointing them beyond you to Christ. After all, you and I make poor saviors.
So here we go. Parenting will develop you into something; you can’t avoid it. What are you becoming?
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