Parenting. The word itself carries so many emotions: joy, fear, hope, doubt and pride. When my first son was born I was honored and terrified at the same time. How could God trust me to keep this child alive, much less guide him spiritually? What if I don't have what it takes to be the parent he needs? What if I give him the wrong advice or steer him in the wrong direction? What if I'm not loving, wise, caring, strict or compassionate enough? What if I'm not up for the calling?
Realistically, though, there was no going back. I had to move forward. So I did.
If you keep up with me and my husband, you know we've written many books. People have asked me why we haven't written one on parenting. To be honest, I've been hesitant; I don't want to put myself in the spotlight because....what if I fail?
Do you hear the fear in that? I know you do. So I've decided to overcome my fear by giving you some hope. I want to give you 3 phrases I've told my heart over the years since I became a mom.
Every mistake is an opportunity for growth.
One time after disobeying, my son Jacob sweetly apologized, but I'd already had enough. So I said, "I don't want an apology. I want you to change your behavior. If you really love me you would listen and obey."
I wanted him to show me his love by obeying me because I was tired of being disobeyed. But the Lord convicted me. He showed me that Jacob wasn't disobeying me because he didn't love me, but because he is a sinner-just like me. I didn't need to manipulate Jacob into obeying me by questioning his love, but rather to teach him how to obey when he didn't want to. I needed to see every mistake as an opportunity in Jacob's growth rather than a chance to control his behavior.
They've only been alive ________ years.
When the boys were little, I felt like a broken record. I would instruct over and over many times with no real results. One time I took one of them to the doctor for a hearing test because I thought, "Maybe he has hearing problems or wax in his ears." Nope. He passed the hearing test and there was no wax build up. So they were just choosing not to listen?
And then the thought occurred to me. Maybe I'm expecting too much. I'm wanting them to act like me, but my child has only lived on this earth for 2, 5, 7, etc years. I need to expect them to have the maturity of a child and go from there.
God loves them more than I do.
The greatest temptation for a parent is to try and control our children because we want to keep them from everything harmful. This is a natural inclination, but is not realistic. My son just turned 14. He is in the process of becoming his own man, and I have to start trusting in the influence my husband and I have had for the last 14 years. I'm not saying I'm resigning my parenting position, but I have to loosen my grip and start to trust him with more responsibility and freedom. How do we trust our growing-up children will be okay? By trusting God with our children.
I'm obviously new to the teenage world, but the phrase I keep praying, saying to my soul is, "God loves him more than I do. He sought my son out and died on a cross for Him. I can trust my Lord with my son."
Here is a prayer we can pray when we're discouraged:
Jesus, we're just a bunch of Moms trying to love You, trying to love our kids, and trying to teach our kids how to love you. As we do this we choose to trust in you at all times; to pour out our hearts to you, for you are our refuge (Psalm 62:8). In peace we will lie down and sleep when we are worried, for you alone, LORD, make us dwell in safety. We will trust you to work in our kids' lives immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine according to your power that is at work within us! (Ephesians 3:20). Amen.
© 2016 by Sharie King. All rights reserved.