As I talked with a few friends recently, we shared a couple of parenting struggles and ways we were trying to encourage and grow our children.
It reminded me that often I just see the outside of other families, the side that looks so put together with well-dressed, polite, obedient children. And maybe sometimes that’s all they see of us.
But I dare say that in the hearts of those moms and dads are struggles similar to mine. Am I doing this parenting thing right? Should I discipline for this offense or show mercy? Will every one ever get along for more than a few minutes? Am I going to mess up my kids forever?
It’s encouraging when a trusted friend or family member says, “Hey, I’ve been there,” or Hey, I’m there now!” It lets me know that this particular behavior I’m dealing with from a child is not new or revolutionary or unusual. Other kids do the same thing; other parents grapple with finding a solution.
The best part of our conversation was realizing that we all shared a desire to rear our children for God. It’s not about who looks best on the outside, but what is the state of our children’s hearts. There may be times – especially at the ages my girls are now – when they’re feeling their way and figuring out their place and learning to stand on their own.
I offer our children my love and bathe them in prayer and…trust. That word I’m focusing on this year, remember? I can trust God that as I ask, He will give me wisdom and grace, and when I mess up – forgiveness.