I tend to want to fix my kids with my power. I want to say and do all the things that will produce the desired effect in their hearts and behavior; to smooth out their rough edges with solid biblical parenting; to mend their flaws and melt their fears so that I can feel really good about my kind, obedient and happy kids.
You can be a mother humble enough to fail because she trusts the God who doesn’t.
This year will mark the first Father’s Day I have ever spent without being able to see or speak to my dad. For 35 years, even after moving away from home 14 years ago, I have spent almost every Father's Day with him. But this year, I remember him.
Children are a gift from God precisely because they are a heritage. Parenting is valuable because as one participates in the activity of it, it produces something of worth. Something that brings significance for both the parent and the child.
We have, yet again, entered a new season in our household. It is no longer just dirty diapers and nursing sessions; but now it is those things plus getting homework done, consistent discipline and realizing that we are helping to form sufficient adults one day. I could be so tempted to try and just get through it. But if I’m being honest, doing life that way makes me sad.
Sometimes I like to think about how exhausted Jesus must have felt as whole towns followed him around (Mk 1:33). I like to think about this mainly because while I don’t have whole towns following me around, sometimes having chatty little children feels like it.
The overly talkative child, the bossy child, the child with endless energy, the child who collapses in tears at the smallest upset, the child whose imagination means homework never gets turned in - these are a few of the personalities that plant themselves in our orderly homes, posing a threat to our expectations and our patience. Our first temptation may be to bring those behaviors to an immediate end. But I want to suggest a better way.
I was so concerned about the appearance of motherhood, that I was barely surviving actual motherhood. But putting my hope for fulfillment in by identity as a mama will never fully satisfy me . . . just like being a wife, climbing the corporate ladder, buying that great pair of shoes or having the perfect home . . . will never fully satisfy me. Yet I run to these things time and time again.
Our most vital task as parents is to know God so well that what pleases and impresses and disappoints Him affects us, and our parenting daily. We want to know Him so well that what He has done and is capable of doing is obvious to little watching eyes; so well that what He says to us in all of our circumstances sounds loudly to tiny listening ears.
In craving the comforts of compulsive work I meet anxiety when I am unable to attain the desired intensity of toil. And you know what this tells me? That I think far, far more highly of myself (and my work) than I ought (Rom 12:3).
I realized my jerk syndrome had gotten out of hand when a new friend genuinely apologized to me for using cloth diapers and making her own baby food. I cringed inside as she spoke realizing the very thing I hate about the mommy world – pervasive comparison – was what I inflicted upon her as I tried to explain my aversion to “mommy-ness.” Yes. I am the reverse-discrimination jerk mother. And what a fool I am to think myself outside of the supposed “mommy war” just because I despise it.
The very fact that I hate it tells me I am very much inside of it.
Dear Parents All Over The World Everywhere,
I'm sorry I underestimated you. And I'm sorry I've never truly been as impressed as I should have been. Turns out, parenting can make you feel like the newest character on Looney Tunes. One minute it's all, Let's have another! And the next it's, How is it possible to be angry at a five-week-old?