Some days I love being a parent. I love the snuggles. I love the laughter. I love the fun. I love the energy. I love seeing their faces in the mornings. I love kissing them good night. I love when I see them growing and learning and becoming responsible little people.
And then there are those other times. Those times when they are screaming at one another. Those times when they won’t listen and just do what you ask them to. Those times when you want to ring their little necks. (Not that you ever would actually ring their necks, but you’ve thought about it, haven’t you?)
And somewhere in the midst of all of this, we realize that we really know nothing about being a parent and we need help. We also realize for every time we rejoice with our kids, that’s how God rejoices with us. And for every time we grieve their behavior and the consequences they must go through, that must be how God feels when we fail him as well.
Tuesday night was one of those parenting nights for me where I was struggling. We thought we lost a kid. Mike thought she was one place, but she wasn’t. She was with Ty, who had asked to go someplace, but had failed to say Anne was going, too. We found her and it was ok, but the reason I went looking for her was because of something else that I had discovered she and Ty had done and about which they needed to be corrected. And I was angry. More like fuming. I admit I was tired, I was worn out from some meetings I had just left, and I was frustrated because what I found when I got home wasn’t what I was expecting to find. So when the time came to actually deal with Anne, I was literally praying under my breath as I entered her room because I was trying not to explode.
And God is good. And He quickly brought me under control. And for the next 30 minutes Anne and I had a wonderful talk about what she had done and why it was wrong and the fact that sin is not hidden from God and sometimes when kids do wrong, the Lord helps parents to see it so that the kids can be corrected. We talked about the fact that God and our parents love us just the way we are, but that both God and our parents are working to mold us into the people the God wants us to be. We had some good time where I spoke truth into her life and some time when we talked about the consequences of our actions. And in the end, she was repentant and accepting of what I had to say.
And then I went to talk to Ty and tried to talk to him about some of these same things and while I am pretty sure he answered all my questions the right way and he followed through with the appropriate apologies and such, I never really saw a repentant heart. Maybe it was there and he was just hiding it in his attempt to be Ty and deflect through humor, but what a difference between my two kids.
I went to bed exhausted. I was completely spent from that hour or two between when I got home and I got into my bed. Parenting well must be really hard, because I am not sure how well I am doing and it is pretty difficult some days.
But just like God doesn’t give up on us, I can’t and won’t give up on my kids. I will continue to take the hard road of both love and discipline. Even when it is hard. Even when it hurts my heart. Even when it exhausts me. Because I want my children to become the people who God has created them to be. I want them to understand that correction is a part of life – both as children and as adults. I want them to understand that we are responsible for our actions. And I want them to know that they are loved, even when they make mistakes.
Because that is true for all of us. We have a Father who loves us, even when we make mistakes. And for this I am thankful.
What challenges are you facing as a parent?