Just a few days ago, I heard someone talking about how horrible children are in the world today. The other person replied, “The problem isn’t the children. It’s the parents.”
Nine years ago when my husband walked in the door after work, I handed him a newborn baby and said, “Here. I am going to Curly’s on the corner.” Now, this was an act of desperation, because Curly’s is a shady place.
I didn’t have a clue what to do with a baby. My mom had passed away years earlier. I was cold, snowed in for three days with no electricity, trying to nurse a screaming baby, and with a busted water pipe. My husband was at work, and I didn't even know how to turn off the water. Later that evening and thankful that Rob had chains on his tires, I headed out…sans baby.
Rob and I had been married for eight years before having a child. I worked for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the industry. I wore nice suits and pretty shoes. I travelled. I couldn’t wait for my maternity leave to end, so I could return to work.
God had other plans.
Not long after returning to work, I got pregnant again. Soon after that, we moved my grandparents to our small town, so that I could care for them. My mom had been an only child and her parents, almost 90 years of age couldn’t live alone anymore. Years later, I would count all the blessings of moving them here, but at the time, it felt like having two more children…and remember, I didn’t know what to do with the one child I had.
My son was born six weeks early and stayed in the hospital the first 8 days of his life. Midway through the pregnancy, we thought we had lost him. He was less than 5 pounds when we finally brought him home. Going back to work meant leaving an 18 month old daughter, a preemie baby, and two aging grandparents. For me, going back to work was the easier choice. Staying home was unfamiliar. It was difficult. It wasn't what I wanted.
Often the plans God has for us aren’t the plans we have for ourselves. I realized at some point, that I simply couldn’t manage it all. My professional career had to go. I traded in going to doctors' offices to meet with physicians professionally, to waiting in doctors' offices and hospitals for appointments with a premature baby and two elderly grandparents.
Almost ten years have passed, and I have been a stay at home mom for all these years. My sweet grandparents have since passed away and were reunited with their Maker and their only daughter. We had another child.
Now may the God of peace, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21
Parenting seems so easy for some. In God's great mercy, He has provided...He has equipped me every step of the way for a task that, at times, seems so daunting. He has given instructions through His Word, through other credible parenting books, through strong families and mentors…and through prayer. I didn’t have a clue what to do with a baby, and certainly the issues we face today as parents are shocking. My deepest desire is for my children's hearts...for their hearts to know the Lord; for their hearts to desire His Truth; to be respectful of authority; to be kind people. I desire for them to see God’s beauty in this world…in this world that offers so much darkness. My kids are sinners. They have a great big ol’ sinner for a mom. I apologize to my kids at least once a day. I pray that despite my failures, they will be able to look past me and see His face.
I don’t claim to have any parental wisdom, but I sure have learned a lot of things along the way. Here are some things we are learning and are working on...
Seek out the truth in a world that would tell you otherwise. Stay connected with your children and their friends. Don’t try to be their friend. They need you to set boundaries. They need you to be their parent. Be concerned about what is on TV. Limit electronic use or make a choice to not allow them. Spend as much time with them as you can. In a blink…they will be gone. Don’t tolerate or make excuses for bad behavior...when they grow up, no one else will. Do not give 'warnings' over and over. Address the issue. Teach your children to do as much by themselves as they can, with your guidance. Prepare them for this world, so that it will not devour them. Teach them to do things with their hands…sew, build, farm, cook. Teach them where to turn the water off should a pipe burst! Limit extracurricular/sports activities. Pray before you commit. Is this God's best for my family? Remember, when you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. Seek to reach their hearts. Don't be as concerned about how the behavior looks, as much as, you are concerned about the nature of their hearts. Enjoy your children. Seek.
The Lord took me out of a work force that I wasn’t willing to leave. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.~ Proverbs 19:21. He gave me this tremendous job of raising two daughters and a son. These children are my 'career' right now. I crave success in my career. Not a success for me, but a success for them. It is a success that seeks Truth above all else. What an awesome job! I look at my children and think, “Wow, God has a lot of faith in me to raise three of His children. I sure don’t want to let Him down!” He will equip me every step of the way.
We are all different and God equips us differently. Some of you have full plates working outside and inside the home. God knows what each of us can or cannot manage. He also knows our hearts. He knew mine was (is) stubborn and selfish, and he knew exactly what it would take to teach me. He has a great plan for all of us! I welcome your opinions and feedback!
Blessings on this 'Life Lessons' Sunday!
I am linking this to Spiritual Sundays.