Monday, September 12, 2016

Parenting: Sunny Skies or Smog of Stress?

"I'm a bad mom." I said to myself after I raised my voice for what seemed like the 75th time a few days ago. The lie that first visited me slowly threatened to become a permanent resident.  It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last.

Let me set the stage a little bit.

My husband and I have five children together. We are a newly blended family discovering the difficulties of merging two households into one while also reaping the rewards of it. As with most children, ours will bicker over the most petty things. "She's staring at me." "He's being bossy." And on and on.

On this particular day, after a few hours of being around one another, the kids needed a break and so did I. I retreated to my bathroom and the tears flowed. Question after question flooded  my mind. "Why is this so hard?" "Am I cut out for this?" "Will it ever get better?"

I didn't get immediate answers to those questions so I just had to rest knowing God was right there with me.

Parenting is one of the most daunting jobs on the planet. We discipline our kids only to watch them repeat the same mistakes again and again. We'll instruct them on the way they should go and become disappointed when they veer in the opposite direction. We'll shower them with love and weep over disrespectful attitudes as they pull away with every year that passes.

With different ages come different stages. Lifting toddlers can be a back breaking task. The tempermental teenage years are emotionally exhausting. And, I'm told that even as our children become adults, we will worry about them just the same.

There's no doubt children are a gift from God. He's entrusted us with caring for another life. With the gift also comes the greatest responsibility. We are told to train them in the way they should go and bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Prov. 22:6; Ephesians 6:4) It sounds easy when we read it but doing it is anything but. Like us, children are born with their own sinful nature. They will love us and test us. Follow us and rebel. Come to think of it, isn't this what we do with our Father in heaven?

Very often I wonder if I have the energy to do this parenting thing another day. Between the cooking and cleaning, homework, taxi driving, pep talks and being a referee...It's draining. No, parenting isn't always sunny skies.  In fact, there are many days when the smog of stress will overcast the joy. When we want to pull the covers over our head and pray the day away.

But, just when I think I am at the end of my rope, God beckons for me to be still with Him.  It's then He reminds me that He's placed me here, for such a time as this. That I can lead these children because He is leading me. He alone is my strength and portion and He knows how I feel because He has children of his own.

As these truths are whispered in my heart, the doubts and anxieties begin to weaken and I thank God for another day. For the miracle and wonder of children. For giving me the opportunity to be a mom.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for life and for the lives of all my children.  Please help me to have patience, strength and guidance as I lead them.  Help me to always point them to you.  Forgive me when I lose my cool or doubt your plan for our lives. I ask you to surround me with people who can encourage and uplift and help me to be that person for someone else.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

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