parenting is no joke…
There is a weird dichotomy in my life: I go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows during the course of almost every day. From the mountaintop of faith to the valley of parenting failure. Let me explain:
I start each day by spending about an hour in the Word and praying. It’s the best part of my day, hands down. In addition to growing my faith roots down deep, it’s also filling me with peace, hope, thankfulness and joy. I’m not exaggerating, that is the honest truth. My cup overflows. When I am done studying and praying, I feel like I can face anything.
And then my kids wake up.
By suppertime, I have completely lost any grip I had on those beautiful qualities and I become a crabby, exhausted wreck. My own reflection in the mirror scares me.
Who is that hot mess and where did sparkly Minta go?
I travel from the peak of tranquility to the valley of despair on the daily. Having four kids is no joke…and having bigs and littles is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes, I wish someone would have warned me that having four kids is where sanity goes to die.
You know, like you would warn a friend who was standing on the railroad tracks and a giant train was barreling toward them at full speed.
Run! Jump! Save Yourself!
Don’t get me wrong, I fiercely love each of my kids. I’m thankful for them. I just don’t always like them.
It’s so.much.harder than I thought it would be.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to make it through the day with grace (Or how to shower. I can’t figure out how to find time for that either. Someone always needs something). I marvel at moms who take it all in stride and manage to look like they are enjoying it (and have showered).
Call me crazy but when my toddler is hitting me in the face for the 15th time in a day, or I’m trying to edit my daughter’s college essay while I make dinner and both my toddlers are throwing tantrums on the floor, something in my brain goes haywire.
I lose my mind…I mean grace…I mean, I get crazy.
It’s frustrating because I am intentional to ask for the Spirit to fill me up and empower me to get through each day but I still come up short and feel like a failure.
Why doesn’t it seem like the spiritual growth in my life is transferring over to my parenting? Why can’t I do this better?
It’s such a weird place to be. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Parenting is so humbling, isn’t it? I am being stripped of all my pride in this season. Every.last.bit.of.it.
I was on my knees the other day, in tears, asking God to please help me be a better mom. Actually…in the spirit of honesty, I was sobbing because I had yelled, again, and my throat hurt and I hated how crabby I was. Tears and snot were flowing down my face as I kneeled there.
When I cried out for help, I felt the nudge of the Spirit, in his gentle way, start to correct my thoughts. This verse came to mind:
Romans 7:21 “I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I love how the Spirit speaks the truth in love. I could relate to that verse in the darkest depths of my heart: what I want to do, I cannot seem to do.
And I am not alone. It is the human condition; we are all sinners in need of his grace.
Friends, I fall short as a parent everyday. This season of having a college student, middle-schooler, preschooler, and strong-willed one-year-old is more than I can handle.
And it’s ok.
God knew I couldn’t do it. He knew I would fall short.
He’s a father, he gets it.
So he paid my debt.
He sent his Son to pay the price for my anger, selfishness, and pride. To cover all of the times I yell, and get impatient and don’t extend grace or love. For all of the times I am not thankful for what I have been given.
That little reminder helped me reframe my mindset:
I am NOT going to become a perfect parent because I am in the Word, growing my faith. I can’t have that expectation for myself in this season. Parenting is no joke! It’s difficult and there is no easy way through it. Instead of focusing on my shortcomings, I need to focus on God’s sufficiency. He is there to offer all that he is: mercy, grace, patience, kindness, and unfailing love in the ugly times when I am not enough.
I may fall short, but he will pick me back up.
I may lose it, but his mercy finds me every morning.
I may run out of grace, but his supply is endless.
He doesn’t need me to be the perfect parent, he only needs me to come to him in desperation for his help. He wants my whole heart – good, bad and ugly. He is perfect love.
Thank God for his overwhelming abundance of grace.
Hebrews 12:12-13 says, “So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”
Take a new grip. Strengthen my knees. Mark out a straight path. It was the encouragement my weary soul needed to try again.
I wiped my face. I apologized to my family. I rallied.
I bundled up my whole family and we went outside in the frigid cold and played family flag football. It was awesome. We all (mostly) had fun and more importantly, my team won. Kidding…we did win but that wasn’t the most important thing.
The grace that covered that time and the joy we found while playing outside was a gift. I enjoyed my kids for the first time in a long time…and I would have missed out on that opportunity if I hadn’t brought myself to the feet of Jesus and asked for his help.
Friend, I don’t know where you fall short, but I know the God who never does. He is waiting, with open arms, to supply all you need according to his glorious riches. Take your failures to him, humbly, and ask him for his help. Then take a new grip, and try again.
And again. And again. And again.
I would love to come beside you and join you in prayer. Message me or comment below and I will get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together. And…it’s almost newsletter time! If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, Mint, do it now! The sign-up is on the right hand side of the page. My newsletter is filled with practical tips for living out faith and some really great recipes and pictures too. Join me!
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