I will admit that there have been many times that I have thought something to the nature of "who thought I was capable of being a parent." Because let's face it, parenting is not easy. It takes every ounce of my energy daily to do the same things over and over, teach the same lessons, discipline for the same disobedient act...and so on and so on. And some days I come out thinking I did okay. Some days I lie down praying that God will make up for all that I have lacked, do lack, and will lack in the future.
I have been thinking about this a lot as someone has mentioned wanting me to teach parenting classes for the prison re-entry and drug addiction program our church helps with. And after thinking through being completely inadequate, how I feel about parenting, and what I might even say I came across this article (it's long). After reading it I thought some more.
And then Sunday my little bug came down with a virus and has had a few days of a pretty good fever. So she has spent the last couple of days watching a lot of "Blue's Clue's" and "Little Bear" on her bean bag to help her rest (without this she runs around acting fine). And as she has spent large portions of the day watching television I have missed her. I have missed interacting with her. And I think I can say I have missed the opportunity to have to discipline her. Not because I like to discipline, but because I have felt like she has learned nothing from me in the last two days. I haven't gotten to show her forgiveness when she asks for it, nor have I had to ask her forgiveness. I am just simply not having to engage her at all. And sure, I got more dishes, more laundry, and more facebook time. But I sure didn't feel like I was parenting much.
And last night as she woke up crying I went in and picked her up to rock her. She melted into my shoulder and chest and she slept. And as she was laying there I loved the weight of her in my arms. I loved that she wasn't trying to hold herself up at all; she was just peacefully sleeping on me. And it hit me. I in some (probably crazy) way like the weight of being a parent. I like the responsibility that God has entrusted to me. Not because I'm great at it, and not because I'm deserving. Simply because it has shown me who God is.
I became a follower of Christ in my senior year of high school. And unlike some really cool stories I have heard, I didn't have anything huge going on. I was a really good kid. I didn't do anything illegal. I wasn't addicted to anything (okay maybe soda) and I wasn't being promiscuous. I was a boring teenager. And as a result of that I have struggled with knowing that I too need a savior. My sins were not obvious. They were small ones, easy to push to the side. And then I watched a little girl do small things like reach out with one finger and touch something I had told her not too. Or look around to see if I'm watching before disobeying. That's when my eyes were opened. Because a sweet little girl's small infractions are the best time for teaching. I don't want to wait until she actually puts something in the socket to let her know she shouldn't play with it. And God doesn't want me to wait until I get "shocked" before I decide I might want to listen to Him. So even those things that are "no touch" that I just barely put my finger on are just as much in need of Him as my little girl is in need of me showing her consequences.
And that my friends, is why parenting, hard as it may be, is beautiful. I thought for a last plug I would throw out that I am going to be starting a book study through the book "Grace Based Parenting" by Ted Kimmel. AWESOME book. I have read tons on parenting, and nothing has compared to this in helping me to feel confident in the choices I am making for my daughter. So if you are interested let me know by sending an e-mail to the one listed at the side. The book is available through Amazon (I bought a used copy and spent about six dollars on the book and shipping) and I'm certain you can get it from local stores as well. I will e-mail people back with the place where the discussion will happen (probably some sort of page on facebook if that works for all) and when we will start. Looking forward to expanding this discussion to different states and hopefully countries. :)
A sinner saved by grace,