Parenting is an “interesting” journey. And I mean that in the most ironic sense of the term. Every few months, something new needs to be handled. It's never a smooth ride. This year itself, we've had to deal with potty training, temper tantrums, and joining play school! Egad! Where did my baby disappear? She outgrows her clothes every three months, she doesn't fit into my arms when I cradle her (cause her legs are too long and she doesn't like being hugged for lengthy periods anyway), and she has her own views on what tastes “yummy” and what doesn't. Sometimes I want to just throw my hands up in despair and declare a time out.
As wonderful as that sounds though, we all know one can't take a break from being a parent. It's not in the contract. So parenting needs a daily dose of grace and mercy, to wake up enthusiastically every morning. Each day is going to be filled with spectacular things like a leaky nose, wailing for toys (that are either lost or maimed), random scrapes and bruises, off-key singing, yelling (on your part), cheeky laughter (from your toddler) which might (usually) end in tears, hearing the same question for the gazillionth time, bathing a grubby toddler only to find said toddler in the afore-mentioned state of grubbiness again within 15 minutes, stepping on a toy (in your bare feet) during a stern lecture which is probably falling on deaf ears anyway. Phew! And this is just the morning probably.
I've often wondered why my daughter makes everything so difficult. In the sense, why can't she just listen to what I tell her and do it. It would make things so much more easier. No repetition of instructions, no yelling, no tears; so simple, no? Why can't she just trust me to know what's best for her? Why does she have to question everything I say, and do the exact opposite?
That sounds suspiciously similar to my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Instead of obeying implicitly, I usually question His leading, doubt His provision, try to do everything on my own terms and end up making a mess; though, thankfully, God doesn't respond to my wilfulness by yelling in anger.
This journey is teaching me that my daughter and I have the same fallen nature. So while she struggles to be obedient, I struggle to be patient. This is not to excuse our behaviour and attitude, but to understand why we are this way.
My parenting is not perfect and (surprise, surprise) it's never going to be. I can guilt-trip myself all I want by comparing myself with all those other moms who seem to have the perfect kids and have everything under control, but the truth is, I am weak and I do not have everything under control, least of all my toddler! Instead of trying to be the “best mom” (the disciples had the same problem I think; they constantly asked Jesus who was the best/greatest disciple amongst them!), I am learning to move out of the way. Yes, I am a parent. And yes, I do have a responsibility which God has entrusted to me. But the fact remains, that this isn't about me trying to juggle all the aspects of parenting, failing abysmally, and taking out my frustration on my child. It's about learning to turn my eyes to my loving Lord, who is able to bear this responsibility and do a much better job! When I am an obedient child to my Father, I will learn to be a better parent. If I model submission to God, my child will see that trust and joy, and know that there is another alternative to wanting one's own way.
So I want to encourage all you other moms. Look to Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. And He has given us these precious little ones. Bring them to Him and leave them safely in His care.
“But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:16
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