We Weren’t Meant To Do It Alone
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
“What in the world were you thinking?”
This was a staple of my prayer life when my children were young. Yes, I questioned God many times. I feel like He probably got tired of hearing it but I had to be real, right? I mean, what was He thinking putting me in charge of two live humans?
Scripture tells us that we are all sinners so that includes me, duh, and I know that perfectionism is non-existent on the planet. I get it. So when we were given the blessing and responsibility of raising two children, how in the world was I, an imperfect person, expected to “train them in the way they should go” and somehow keep them on the straight path and help them be who God created them to be?
At times the task felt impossible. At times I thought we would all be on Oprah (I know, I’m dating myself) one day airing our dirty laundry for all the world to see. I mean, surely I was messing them up somehow.
Ever felt this way?
What I learned over time was that my thinking was prideful. Pride. Full. Full. Of. Pride!!
Parenting has a way of humbling us, doesn’t it?
Your infant pees on you during a diaper change. Your toddler comes to wake you in the night with an upset stomach only to vomit in your hair while they’re beckoning for help. Your preschooler points to someone in the grocery store and asks you why they look like they do. You begin to lose your temper with your elementary age child and they begin to tell you about the character trait of self-control that they are learning in school.
These are just a few of the physical challenges that come with being a parent. Just wait until they become young adults! The physical challenges diminish greatly but the emotional pull that comes with watching your children launch out can be just as great.
Now that I’m on the other side of having small children, here are a few things I learned:
Mothering preschoolers, at times, was lonely. I was isolated. I was schedule driven. Sometimes, I was limited financially aka broke!
*Find a community. I found mine through my local church. I deliberately surrounded myself with women who were in my shoes and with those who had already walked out of them and were on to parenting older children. Both have value. I attended some play dates, library readings and gym sessions for moms and toddlers but I found that authentic relationships were built in the security of other christian women.
I felt unequipped. After reading all the books and those wonderful magazine articles found at the pediatrician’s office, every family is unique in its own way and while I found some good tips through those avenues, there was only one solid source for teaching me how to parent MY children.
*This time in my life is when I got more serious about my faith. I had to ask myself if I really believed in Christ or was I just riding the coat tails of my upbringing. I had to choose if I was only going to use Him when I needed answers or was I ALL IN on placing my faith in Him. He created the institution of family, the first mom and dad, the first set of children…He is the designer of it all and He is the deepest, widest and most rock solid source of how to parent. He proved this to me over and over as I walked through these years.
I am blessed. I’m acutely aware that there are some out there who long to be a mom and are just not able to be at this time. Not all get this privilege to parent and we shouldn’t take it lightly that we were chosen to guide these little human beings for 18+ years. To be the place where they launch off into adulthood and return to when they need to steady their footing again.
*God chose us to do this task. Being hand picked by God..now that is a blessing!
God chose you! Rest in that friend. You are your child’s parent on purpose.
Do what you can to prepare. Do what you can to just simply do your best. But know this, this journey of parenting isn’t just about those babies. It is about you and your relationship with your Creator too. This is a time to lean into Him, trust what He says about finding community. Trust what He says when He tells you He will never leave nor foresake you. Trust His instructions in the Bible about parenting.
We can get so wrapped up in our children. We’ve all been there or been tempted to do so. But, everything that we experience in this life is about strengthening our relationship with Christ and inviting others to do the same. All of it.
So keep your focus on Him. Keep Him at the center.
We are lonely at times because He longs to spend time with us.
We feel unequipped at times because He longs to equip us.
We are blessed always because He is just waiting to give us whatever we need and it’s all for our good, the good of our children and to bring glory to Him.
So, lean in. Lean hard. Beware of the trap of thinking you can do it all on your own. We are designed to need Him and when we give in to that, well that is where we will find freedom.