The only thing I know about parenting….
What do you do when your kids disobey? When they are picky eaters? When they aren’t sleeping well? When they are defiant? When they aren’t getting along with one another? When their attitudes are ugly? When they make poor decisions? When they talk back? When they don’t talk enough? When they ask hard questions?
You know what I thought when I was a kid? I thought my parents knew all the answers. They were the grown-ups. Grown-ups knew all of everything.
Now that I have been a parent for 18 years and have had to answer too many hard questions while raising four uniquely amazing individuals, I know the truth. I won’t speak for every parent, but here’s what I know about myself: I’m winging it here. I mostly don’t know what I’m doing. There are too many decisions and too many difficult questions. My answer all too often is a solid I…don’t…know.
I felt this when each of my kids were babies, when they were toddlers, when they were preschoolers, when they were elementary age, in middle school, turning teenager, becoming more independent, and now I’m excited to begin learning what it means to be a mom of a
kid adult in college. Throw into the mix that what works for one does not necessarily work for the others because of that blessed thing we call individuality. This leads me to share what I do know about parenting – the only thing I know.
God has to do this for me. Not with me. For me. Thinking that God is merely by my side on my parenting journey leads me to believe the lie that I must be more than I was created to be. Instead, I can confidently embrace the fullness of who He is as sovereign Lord of my children. God, be for my sons all that I cannot. Protect them, lead them, teach them. They are yours. I trust you.
I am very willing to be God’s tool in this process because these babes are my very heart beat. My love for them is fierce, which matches my insatiable desire to see them grow humbly into Christlike servants, leaders, spouses, and parents.
As with everything else I do in life, as I walk this parenting road, my confidence cannot be in my self. When I find myself at a loss with how to wisely and consistently parent my sons, wondering where I am and how in the world I got here, this is when I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
It is this place that I recognize that God has a plan for each of my children and He will carry it out. This is where I remember that my job is to love them, care for them, and train them – but not save them or attempt to be God to them. This is when I realize that I am to point my children to the One who saves – to the God who has good works prepared in advance for them – to the Savior who already won the victory for them.
I parent best when I’m on my knees. I say the right words when I’m letting the Spirit speak. I love my children fully when I embrace the Truth of the One who loved us first.
When we ask for wisdom, He provides. When we surrender, He reigns. When we let God, He is.
That is what I know.