In reality - if I'm being honest - I don't really think I suck. But it sure feels that way. Sometimes, as a parent, it just feels like you must be the most clueless individual on the face of the planet. You think, "Lord, I discipline my children. I teach them right from wrong. I don't exasperate my kids and try and rule over them, but I'm not trying to just be their buddy either. I'm giving this my everything!" And sometimes - on those days that come for all of us - it just seems like our everything isn't enough. It's like a punch in the gut. Or the face. Or maybe a kick to the gut and a punch to the face. All at the same time. And you put them to bed, sit down at your laptop and think, "Man. Sometimes, I suck." Been there?
We all feel this at some point. At least anyone attempting to raise their children to know the Lord and to walk in obedience and be respectful is going to face this day more than once. Some of us go from having those days to having those years. This is why Solomon said: "Train your child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Prov.22:6) When he's old?! How long do I have to wait on this? That's what we're wondering, those times when we feel like we're giving it our all and our all seems like one quarter of everyone else's all. But this is a lie from the enemy and the pit of hell itself. It's deceit. It's misperception on our part. But it's also evidence that - even if it's just for a brief moment in time - we've started trying to do this on our own strength. It probably wasn't intentional, but most likely, while wallowing in my parental self-pity party (which is a satan-born idea as well) I've started trying to do it myself. I've stopped praying. And I don't mean the pre-dinner acknowledgement that we're still aware that God's there and He's huge and "we thought we'd throw a big shout-out to you for the food, big guy!" I'm talking about begging the Spirit of God to pour out wisdom and discernment and patience and strength on us like we've never known before. "Jesus! Help me! Help me to be the father they need! Help me to have the courage to teach them and discipline them, even when it stabs me in the heart like a dagger! I'm helpless without You!"
That's the kind of prayer I'm talking about.
That's the kind of prayer I'm praying right now.
[And now a special word to a group of people I love with all my heart.]
Teenagers: I love you. And it's out of that love that I say this to you: GROW UP! Respect your parents. Their love for you is so HUGE that it sometimes makes their heart want to explode! They can't explain it or describe it to you if they tried. And even if they did, you wouldn't believe them. Give them a break. Stop adding more drama to your life than a crappy daytime soap opera. Enjoy life! And do it while being obedient and respectful to these human beings who are humbly trying their best to prepare you for life! One day - and I hate even hearing or seeing these words come out of my mouth - you're going to understand. The lightbulb will go off. And you will humbly and painfully realize, "OMG! They were right!" (Cue laughter)
So, coming back to the point, being a parent is hard work. It's the hardest job on the planet! And sometimes we feel like we're so lousy at it that we might get fired. If that's possible. But thankfully, God's grace and love and power are so much greater than our inadequacies and our failures. Thank You, Jesus!
Been here lately? Feeling this way now?
I'd love to pray for you!