This Parenting Gig
Being a parent has to be one of the hardest things any of us ever do. Children require an enormous amount of patience and love and money. They are loud and messy and demanding. And when your sweet darling angel says “Mommy” 763 times in the span of 9 minutes you feel like you’re going to lose your mind. (or so I’ve heard)
If that’s not enough, the knowledge that you are raising a person and are largely responsible for their mental, emotional and physical well-being is THE. MOST. TERRIFYING. THING. EVER.
I remember being about 8 months pregnant with Mikayla and thinking, “I can’t protect her out here.” In my sleep deprived, hormone imbalanced state I believed the illusion that I was in control – that as long as my child was in my womb I could keep her safe. Of course, this wasn’t true. Any number of things outside of my control could have threatened her. What I didn’t know then is that Mikayla would have Williams Syndrome. During the time when I believed I was in complete control, a few of her genes didn’t split correctly which resulted in a lifetime of challenges far outside my grasp of control.
I learned from this experience that we get it backwards. We think being a parent equates to ownership of our children. The belief that we are in control leads to a lot of stress and frustration and fear when life doesn’t go our way. In reality, we are stewards and not owners. Our children belong to God and are given to us to love, care for, teach, feed and answer whenever the precious dears ask a question, even if it’s 763 times every 9 minutes.
We only have our children for a short time to equip them to go out into the world and live as successful contributing members of society who love Jesus and strive to follow Him. They are not ours to fulfill our wishes or dreams.
This is not an easy thing to remember. My nature is to desire control and ownership. I forget that parenting is an act of worship and that my role is not to control every possible outcome of my child’s existence but to love her and teach her about God and pray that she will fall in love with Him. I don’t always do this well. But, when I do remember that she belongs to God and not to me, that God is in control and not me, a sense of peace and reassurance washes over my soul. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to control everything. I don’t have to be anxious about her health. Because I know that God loves her and parents her far better than I ever could.
I may have an easier time remembering my lack of control than most parents. Because every time Mikayla and I go anywhere she insists on having an elaborate conversation with every single person we encounter. There are so many cashiers and store managers and bag boys that know my child by name and we talk to THEM ALL. EVERY TIME. If I were actually in control, this would never happen.
What aspects of parenting do you struggle to remember? How do your children remind you?