One of the worst parts about being a parent has got to be going to bed feeling like you just didn’t get it right.
Some days, you totally nail it. You were patient, everyone ate healthy, people got along. And then there are the other days where just nothing works. It just feels like frustration and impatience and you start to wonder, “Do I really even like these people?”
I want so badly to teach my kids to live righteously. To love God with all of their hearts and to forgive and to share and to have patience and empathy… to have fun but also to be wise. Okay, fine, I just want them to be totally perfect. What’s wrong with that? But on the nights I go to bed wishing I could have a redo, the pressure is just so much. I’ve screwed them up, for sure. I’m wondering:
Are they going to bed feeling sad?
Are they going to trust me?
Am I teaching them to trust God?
It’s all so dang heavy, isn’t it? It often feels like too much. They are probably definitely doomed and will end up in counseling because of that time I yelled at them too loud for putting gobs of toilet paper in the toilet.
My favorite thing about still having a toddler is her how easily she forgives. We did not have a great night. She just couldn’t get it together. There was lots of screaming on her part. Crying on both of our parts. We did the whole bedtime thing and then .7 seconds later she had to go pee. And then the toilet paper gobs. I yelled. She cried.
But within minutes, I was holding her while she calmed down and she asked me to lay with her. I knew I was the one who made her cry but she still wanted me to comfort her. It kind of seemed unfair to her. I felt like I didn’t deserve the job.
And I was reminded yet again that God wanted me to be her parent. He knew my shortcomings and the places I lack. He knew what kind of personality she would have and how it would so often clash with mine. And as much as I screw it up, He knew the pieces of His heart that she would learn through me.
Me… anxious, impatient, emotional.
He chose me to teach her how to ask for forgiveness.
He chose me to show her that as she grows, it’s okay and normal to not have it all together.
He wanted me to be her example of how to trust Him through anxiety and heartbreak.
He didn’t pick me because I was the best one for the job. He chose me to be her mom in hopes that through me, she would learn just how kind and consistent He is.
Insecurity is the liar that is begging you to give in to defeat. If you can be convinced you’re probably failing, then why try at all? Why keep giving so much effort when you just keep screwing it up? It sounds so harsh, but I know we all feel it. This sense of defeat where we would just rather kind of sulk and give into feelings of worthlessness than pour out more of ourselves again to our kids. It takes a lot of effort to pour out more love when you feel like a crappy parent.
We don’t just need more patience and self-control, although those are pretty necessary for the survival of children of all ages.
We need humility.
We’re desperately grasping for wisdom, but hurdling over the first step that leads to wisdom. And it’s humility.
In humility, we’re not worried about our sense of control. We’re not focused on “getting it right.” Can we be super honest? Aren’t most of us trying to keep up with the parents around us? Whether they’re on Instagram, or in our real life, so much of what we try to control is what everyone else sees.
But it’s the quiet moments when we set our pride and our need for control aside where the real stuff happens. That’s when they learn who we truly are, and who He is.
“But with the humble [the teachable who have been chiseled by trial and who have learned to walk humbly with God] there is wisdom and soundness of mind.” [Proverbs 11:2 AMP]
Sounds like parenting, right? Chiseled by trial. That’s exactly what these little people are doing to us. They break us down, but they’re building and molding us. And if we lean into teachability and humility, God promises that wisdom follows. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for, really?
How can you lean into humility today? Is it apologizing when you mess up? Is it treating your spouse differently? Is it choosing to push insecurity and worthlessness aside, and lean into love instead? Putting our children’s needs ahead of us doesn’t just look like eating last and never going to the bathroom alone. It’s humbling ourselves before our Father, and showing our little people that He will take care of the rest.
“Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.” [Philippians 2:3-4 TPT]