Nobody said parenting was… um… anything you might have expected!

There is the day of that wonderful news, the news that you are going to be a parent. The tears of joy come, the announcements go out, gifts are given, and the nursery is now ready with pink or blue blankets and bedding to welcome your little bundle of cuteness. The happy and sometimes frantic day of rushing to the hospital after contractions have been just a few minutes apart arrives. After what seems like days and unspeakable pain… the doctor places this tiny, precious life in your arms. A precious life that you brought into the world by the gift and grace of God.

Countless diapers will be changed, endless laundry will need to be washed, and sinks full of empty bottles will need to be cleaned and refilled. All of this you have been expecting. You know there will be sleepless nights, first steps, potty training, then eventually the exciting and tear-filled first day of school. Oh, how the years have flown. Now there is a new chapter beginning.

This chapter will bring with it changes that are difficult for both you and your child. They are now wanting to choose their own clothes every day. They have new preferences for the lunch you pack them. They are making new friends that weren’t already in the mom’s group you preselected. Oh, how this can make you feel out of control as a parent.

One minute they look to you for all their needs (such as colors to match for clothes, the PB&J sandwiches they have ALWAYS liked, or who they were going to play with that day), now they seemed to have developed the ability to make choices for themselves. What are our schools teaching our kids anyway? But reality sets in and you settle into this new way of life. Our kids continue to pick out their own clothes much to our dismay at the choices, and they all of a sudden do NOT want the sloppy hand made PB&J sandwich (or any sandwich for that matter), and they don’t want you to help them decide what game to play with their friends because they just want to hang out at the mall and pick out those clothes we would rather they didn’t like.

All along this road of self-discovery, we try to guide and direct our kids the best way we know how. As the ol’ saying goes, “they didn’t come with a book of instructions.” It is in those moments of shared secrets with your daughter that you never expected certain things. Things like how your teenage child not only trusts you with a secret, but looks forward to getting that alone time with you to share her feelings. It is in the conversations with your son who is just a whisper away from his twenties, and he shares his life’s ambitions and dreams with you that you stumble on something you never expected. You never expected that when the world or friends offer their ear to hear those goals, he’d rather share them with you first.

There are also those moments of anger from your child that leaves you with something you never expected. Feelings of failure as a parent. Feelings of fear that you will never regain the relationship you had before. Unbalanced feelings of changing your ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ just to bring harmony back to your relationship with your child. These are not things those pregnancy books cover when they try and prepare you for parenthood.

My husband and I have always tried to give understandable reasons for why we said no to something, as well as why we would allow them to do something. It has been important to us for our kids to realize that we are not simply dictating everything they do for the sake of dictating. We have always wanted them to understand why something was not a good idea to do so that later on when they are no longer under our roof, they know how to weigh out a situation and make a well informed and thought out decision… hopefully. But there does come a time when they will try and make a decision that will endanger them or potentially have life altering repercussions that, as a parent, you’re simply not going to sit by and let happen. It is in these moments that I will play the “I’m the parent and I said so” card. My child will get angry. Tears will fall, doors will slam, silence will be heard. It is in these moments that I will ask God “am I doing the right thing?”

God will then remind me of all the things I have asked Him for that He has tried to show me why it wouldn’t be the best thing or how He plans to use me in the door He has just opened for me. Then comes the reminder of the times He has had to simply say ‘no.’ I know what’s in your best interest and you will have to trust Me on this one. Proverbs 3;4-5 says “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

Just as we want our kids to trust what we tell them because we have had more experience then they have, we need to trust God who is all knowing in all things. He has far more experience than us. Just as God stands by His decisions for us, through heavenly council, we must stand by the decisions we have made concerning our kids. They will get mad and stomp around slamming doors. They may even tell us they hate us. But as parents, once they have had time to cool down and process everything, they come to us and say they may not always agree or understand but they trust our decisions. You may not always understand or agree with Gods’ decision but He will be there waiting when we come to Him and say “I trust in You Lord, not my own understanding.” Our heavenly Parent is waiting for His children to trust Him, will you be one of them? I want to be. Lord help me to trust in You. Help me to not trust in my own understanding. Let me trust in all Your decisions for me. Father Please help me also to have the patience with my children that You have for me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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