I quit. I quit parenting.
I mean, let’s be honest, how many times has that phrase gone through our heads? More than I’d like to admit for myself. From diapers to dinners, to disobedience.. It would be so helpful if kids had a programmable feature on them where you could set their levels of obedience, their flavor pallet, and their predictability - wouldn’t that be great?! But, unfortunately (well, only unfortunate for selfish reasons, it’s actually VERY fortunate) God has designed each of us as beautiful individuals with loves and likes, preferences, fears, hearts, minds, and emotions all completely unique to us. And in His love and goodness, he built into us the ability to think for ourselves and have our own free will. Tough when it shows in our kids, but great when we get to exercise that as adults! :)
So then, how do we effectively parent children who are designed by GOD to be their own people, think for themselves, make their own mistakes, etc? Are we supposed to just sit back and do nothing? Or in today’s world, should we shut them in and never let them outside until they are adults because the world is so messed up? Our job is to lead them in the direction of the Lord. Towards Jesus. Our role is to partner with Jesus in loving them, guiding them, and helping them grow into adults who love Jesus and are confident in their identity in Him. No big deal, right? Nope, a huge deal. Overwhelmingly huge. Like, so huge it’s easy to feel like we are sinking under the weight of the burden.
There have been so many times where in the good times I find myself joyfully declaring, “Lord, THANK you for my kids, I TRUST you with them…” The prayers of trust and faith flow so easily in those times. But when times get hard I find myself forgetting all those prayers and reacting in a way that goes against all the prep and planning and reading and prayer I’ve done all these years. Please tell me some of you can relate?! I know all the right answers. We’ve even taught parenting courses to families. But when push comes to shove and things get real, I’m still just a regular parent trying my best to navigate very confusing times and I make all kinds of mistakes. The burden is heavy.
Here’s the thing though. We don’t have to carry this burden alone. We have a helper. We have the most wonderful helper whose intentions and love for our children go far beyond anything we could ever feel for our own kids. So, I take it to heart. I get down on my knees. I commit my heart to trust in the transformational power of Jesus to work in my kids and work in ME as I parent my kids.
This year one of our prayer priorities is praying for parents. Parents, you are not alone. We are covering you in prayer this year. Our church family is making it a priority to pray for you. The family and the home is the best and most effective environment for discipleship for our children and teens. We pray for heart-to-heart connections with you and your children. We pray for wisdom as you guide and lead your children toward Jesus. Remember, it’s not your job to be the perfect parent, it’s your job to lead your children toward the perfect Father. That’s the best thing we can ever do. Proverbs 22:6, “Dedicate your children to the Lord and point them in the way that they should go, and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.”
Pastor (and mother!) Laura