"Why didn't anyone tell us parenting was this tough before we had kids?" my husband mumbled under his breath the other evening. It is. It is down... right... exhausting sometimes. When three kids wake up before seven am, and they are all crying at the same time, and I'm all like, stop whining and eat your breakfast and can't we all be happy... I just want to break down and cry. A few things I'm learning along this parenting journey are:
#1) It is not going to look, smell, or be perfect.
I realize that I need to concede to the fact that parenting won't be perfect. Far from it. Sometimes I'm striving for perfection while parenting, when I should be simply depending on God's perfect strength and leaving it at that.
#2) It is an investment.
Putting something of value towards something with the expectation of gain. Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." You are investing during tough and perilous times. Just like putting your money towards an investment during hard economic times, you need to protect those little assets called children.
#3) How do we protect our assets called children?
We protect and hold and safeguard them with the sword of the Spirit--- THE WORD OF GOD. Bathe yourself in the Bible. After you have bathed yourself, bathe your children in it. Play bible songs during your day. Read together. Pray together. Ask scripture, provoking questions. And most importantly, show them the Word of God!
#4) It takes time.
Remember, parenting is a marathon not a sprint! It will take time for these little souls to grow and mature. Don't rush the growth or you may stunt and harm the buds!
#5) It takes endurance.
Daily, hourly, minute by minute endurance!
#6) It takes selfless acts of unconditional love.
Like no other thing in my life thus far, parenting has stretched me, grown me, and made me more like my Heavenly Father. It has shown me my sin, my weaknesses, and my selfishness; but oh how it has shown me so much more about His grace and mercy and unconditional love for me. I need to live that love out to my little babes.
#7) The fruit will come after years of diligent harvesting.
Hard work during the younger years will produce fruit one day. I have faith in this and know God can and will bring the increase!
#8) I want a heart change, not the perfect child.
I want my children to know that God loves them. That He wants them to obey Him in every area because that is what is best for their little lives. I want them to live and breathe the gospel. I want to stop trying to discipline in order to gain order and perfection, but discipline in a way that points them to Christ, and changes their heart because He moved and breathed upon the waters of their souls.