Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tired of Parenting?

You read books about parenting. You listen to sermons. You read the Bible. You get advice from friends. You talk to teachers, youth pastors, and family.  You even read blogs, like this one.

You go to bed late, finishing the dishes after the kids are in bed. You get up. You hurry.  You drive. You pray. You worry.  You pack and unpack. You go to games and lessons and classes. You help with homework. You cook, eat, clean.  You go to work. You go to church. You make Christmas and birthdays happen. You drive some more. You tuck in little ones and you talk late to teens. You read to them and hold them. You tell them it hurts you more than them, and it is true.

All because you are committed to being the best parent you can be.

All because you want your children to grow well.

Sometimes it seems like there is so much to learn and so much to do.  To do it right.

Fred Rogers said that "life is simple and deep, but we have made it complicated and shallow." This is true for parenting. There is no long list for doing it right. What are the simple and deep things, that bring joy and freedom and refreshment in parenting?  Here are three suggestions:

1. God causes the growth, not you or me. Paul said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God causes the growth." Even as parents, we are planters and waterers in the lives of our children.  We can't make them grow.  God does that.  And, He cares more about them than we do. We can't hurry growth or demand it.  Let go of this burden.  It is God's part.

2. Trust God. Philippians 4:6 and 7 say, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  I love what comes right before this in verse 5:  "The Lord is near."  Be at peace.  He is right here taking care of you and your children.  He knows, He cares, and He is strong. He is near.

3. Keep it simple. Love God. Love people. Love them unconditionally; there is no cost or burden or list of activities to do that. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." "Bring them up" requires being there and knowing them and caring, very relational, love. Teach and talk and hold them for Him. Let them know you care about them and care about Jesus. They will forgive your mistakes if they know you care. Just be there. Most other things don't really matter so much.

We can get lost in good advice and good things to do. And, get tired.

So much really isn't important.

If you get tired, consider what is important.  Consider what you can do and can't do. Consider God's grace and deep love for you and your children. Let Him love them and you. Let Him work.

May God carry you along and take away the burdens you don't need to carry.  May you be able to freshly love.  And, be loved.

You are in good hands.

And, maybe you have other ideas that will help, that you can share below.

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