"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Parenting BEYOND your capacity

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."2 Corinthians 12:9

After school is my favorite time of day. I love it when the door flies open and the kids come in chatting about their day, showing me things and settling in after a hard day. 

Yesterday I had laid out several snack options on the counter for them to choose from. They got their snack, started homework and after-school activities, and I didn't get the other snack options put away as quickly as I normally would. I went into the kitchen later and discovered they were all gone. Both kids swore up, down and side-ways that they hadn't touched them. Since the dog can't open the packages by herself and the cat refuses anything that doesn't have the words "seafood feast" on it, I was pretty sure it had to be one of them. They both stubbornly refused to admit to taking the extra snacks. Finally, frustrated and truthfully, really disappointed that the guilty party would allow their sibling to get in trouble too, I gave the same punishment to both. Fair? I guess. It is a hard call to make when you know one is innocent, but the guilty party just won't back down.

This situation really got me to thinking how wearing parenting can be. All day long there are little choices, little decisions that we have to make. Teachable moments are all around and opportunities come along where you have to decide, show grace or teach that decisions have consequences. It is enough to have any parent running for the hills. You want to be the safe parent who they can turn to with any mistake or bad judgement call, but you also have to be the one that teaches discipline, humility, putting others first and self-control. When those things aren't shown, you become teacher, guide and disciplinarian. How do you decide which situation gets what response? Where is the hand-book??!

While it might not be a handbook, I have found a book that really helps when it comes to those times you want to just throw your hands up and beg God to "take them back, PLEASE!"

This book is called "Parenting Beyond Your Capacity" by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof. 

Now, hear me out! It isn't another one of those books that makes you feel like a failure because you have missed a thousand opportunities, nor is it chocked full of statements that are designed to make you feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to start doing RIGHT NOW to win the heart of your child and grow a productive and valuable member of society. 

This book actually tells you that you CAN NOT do it alone! You are not expected to be perfect, you weren't MADE to be a one-person, child-rearing genius, and that there IS a plan to help you get on track, to help you make some of those hard-call decisions.

Following are a few quotes from the book that really spoke to me. 

"Being a good parent is hard, and in the short term there is not a whole lot of glory attached to it. You can't coast through it. It is intentional.  Anybody can have a child; being a good parent takes work and prayer."

Thank you for telling me I am not the only one that feels parenting is hard! So many people make it look so easy! Sometimes I wonder what it is that everyone else gets that I seem to be totally missing!

"I can promise that even for the most intentional parents, there will be nights when all you can do is fold your hands and cry, "God, help me!" I imagine God hears that and thinks, "I thought you'd never ask!"  You will make plenty of mistakes, and that's okay. Mistakes are often opportunities to show your children not only your fragile humanity but also the way you respond to failure."

What a great reminder that I am NOT alone in this. Not only that, but there is actually someone that knows my children better than I do, that has a plan for them, and that WANTS to be involved. It also reminded me that it is OK to not be the perfect parent, but that I need to admit it and rectify it, where my children can see, and often to them directly. I forget that simply my example to them is the teacher they learn from most, not the words I say.

"Too many of us buy into the myth that we need to become the right kind of parent before God can use us. In reality, God is longing to tell His story through our imperfections and brokenness....Rather than painting a picture of a perfect family, God wants to use family as a canvas for His redemptive story.  He wants to use the family to show us what it means to have an authentic, everyday faith with a God who redeems and restores broken people."

Sometimes as parents we forget that it really isn't about us. We forget that we have a role to play, that the story isn't starring us. It is all about God. Wow! Doesn't that take the pressure off?! 

This thing of parenting isn't about "getting it right", it is about letting God be God in our lives, in our children's lives, and in the very middle of this crazy, messy, imperfect family. Sounds kinda like the verse from above, doesn't it? 

More to come from this great book later, but I just had to let you know, if you are struggling with some of these same things, that not only are you not alone, you were designed to have amazing help through this thing we call parenting! 

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."Isaiah 41:10

1 comment:

Kasperienda said...

thank you for reminding me that i am not alone, God made us mothers and he is able to guide and direct us throughout this great journey of motherhood. if you get time you can also pop in my blog I started it recently.