“When it rains, it pours.”
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
“God will never give you more than you can bear.”
We have all kinds of ways to tell ourselves and each other that rough times seem to come in droves. Sometimes it seems to help to have a good laugh at how the one problem isn’t solved before the next one rolls in to complicate things. Sometimes you have to just cry and pray and trust that the valley will lead to another mountaintop.
There are days I love being a mother and foster mother. I look at my kids- whether they’re behaving perfectly or not- and I see beauty and promise and all that is good and right with the world. I see their orneriness as a sign of their strong will, and I remember that is going to help them change the world. I see them helping one another, and I smile and think of what incredible servants they’ll be as adults.
But I must be honest. There are days I just have a hard time seeing the beauty through the fog. There are days I have to remind myself that it is worth it to keep at it. There are days it would be easier to just lay back and let my kids have their way while I immerse myself in something that makes me feel better.
But that’s not the kind of parent I want to be.
Parenting is THE TOUGHEST job on the planet. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If it feels easy, you’re doing it wrong. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong; there are some pretty amazing things about being a parent that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. But there will always be times when you question whether you even know what you’re doing.
I wish someone would have told me this when I was a young parent. I had my first child when I was 20 years old, and boy did I have my share of advice from my elders. No matter what I did, it seemed someone opposed it! I’m the type of person who likes to consume facts like chocolate (and I’m a professional chocolate connoisseur, by the way), so I read parenting book after parenting magazine after parenting blog. Still, here I am over 10 years later and I continue to question whether I’m a good parent.
I share this because I feel like there are so many wonderful parents out there who feel the same way. You question yourself daily, giving yourself stress headaches wondering if you’re setting your kids up to be scholars or jailbirds. And for good reason! Just a walk through the grocery store reveals that there are quite a lot of kids in our world who are headed the wrong direction.
So…what’s the answer?
Well, for 3 installments of just $19.95… 🙂 Just kidding.
For me, the answer has been two-fold:
1. I go to the one place I know I’ll find eternal wisdom that has lasted through the ages, through every known culture and through the rise and fall of nations. Jesus. I know, it sounds cliche, but I’m telling you- without Him, I’d be sunk. The Bible isn’t just ancient history. It’s eternal wisdom. If you really want wisdom, if you really seek it, it isn’t hard to find.
2. Every once in awhile I’d see kids- even grown kids- who were exemplary. If I could find their parents, I’d go to them for wisdom on how they raised their children. Like I said- I’m an infomaniac, so I gathered and gathered and gathered. I stopped reading parenting magazines from “experts” I didn’t know, and I started spending time with incredible parents I saw regularly.
Honestly, though, neither of these options would have been any help if I had not been willing to admit that I didn’t have it all together. In fact, I just started admitting that I had NO idea what I was doing, and that one step of humility continues to serve me now.
SO- days like today when I feel like my methods are a mess and my kids are headed to the nuthouse, I stick to my guns. I turn to the people I trust who have wisdom. I listen. I am encouraged. And I eventually see the benefit that only comes from being consistent and committed to the process.
If you’re a parent, how do you feel today? Do you need support? Can I help you or pray for you?