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Write It On A Rock

Faith and Family
March 3rd, 2014 by Sarah

You Are Not Alone


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DSC_0580February was the month of Birthdays, as three of our kids were born in February.  Now we have an 8, 6, 4, and a 2-year-old.  I’m not naming any names, but (the two-year old) is keeping me on my toes right now.

I also started homeschooling Hudson at the end of January because every day/all day Kindergarten just wasn’t for him, and that’s the only option at our school.

I would never vote for myself as a home school teacher because I just don’t think of myself as a patient teacher, but it is going surprisingly well.

I wrote this article for Canvas Magazine, our church’s magazine, almost a year ago.  I realized that I hadn’t shared it here so I wanted to share it with those of you haven’t read it in the magazine.

You Are Not Alone

I sat with my friends, and fellow mothers, Sally and Jill inside a coffee shop on a chilly night. As we sat talking about our children’s recent bought of the flu, how to tame a two-year-old temper tantrum, and our sleep deprivation, our fourth mommy friend, Jolene, joined us at the table.  Jolene’s children have grown up, and as she sat down she smiled and said, “I miss the days that you girls are in.”

I think the three of us may have looked at her like a dog that heard a whistle.  For days I kept thinking about what she said because I absolutely know that I am going to miss these days when my kids are young, but some days it is also really hard to parent four little children.  Weeks after Jolene made that comment I found myself remembering to be thankful for the stage I am in now in moments that I want to complain.

Fast forward to today, a snowy day.  I’m feeling a little depleted.  I’m guessing the winter, with sickness and all it brings, has been a little draining for most of us with small children.

I think it’s fitting to write during this season of fatigue because that is the reality of parenting for many of us.  It’s neither all easy nor all hard.  Parenting is both heart full of joy and at times heart filled with pain.  It is both successes and failures, giggles and tears.

I absolutely love the moment that each of my kids come downstairs in the morning rubbing their eyes, grinning and happy to be up.  I love their snuggles and morning breath on my cheek.  That two minutes of connection, before they start fighting over who gets what cereal bowl, fills my heart up to the brim.

It’s amazing how one minute I am having a peaceful morning but the next my blood pressure is rising because two kids are fighting with each other, while another is screaming because I won’t let her have fruit snacks for breakfast.

That moment when my blood pressure is rising is the moment I am looking for help; a tip from a parenting book, a little bit of God’s grace, or maybe a room to hide in with a lock on it.

So how do we parent well even in those difficult, not fun moments?

I in no way consider myself to be a parenting expert. (But does anyone feel like a parenting expert when they are right smack dab in the middle of parenting little children?)  Maybe when my children are all grown up and I forget some of my mistakes.  When I long for just one day to go back and hold their tiny fingers in my hands, to kiss their baby cheeks and have them on my lap, but not today.

Here is what I am finding is my most important help in parenting through the good moments and the hard.  You may be tempted to gloss over what I am about to say because it seems overly simplistic, but it’s actually difficult to do and freeing all at the same time.

It is to rely on God in the frustrating moments, and the good ones; to rely on Him when I need wisdom and strength.

This is a hard thing to do, which is why I often have to try every tool in my tool belt before I realize that I can’t do this well on my own.  It is why I finally pray about my situation and wonder why I hadn’t done it months ago.

In John 15:5 Jesus says. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Jesus says that without Him we can do nothing.  Nothing.  It seems a bit extreme you might think.  What is Jesus meaning here?

He means that we cannot do anything that has lasting value without growing our relationship with Him, without trusting in Him continuously.  We can’t carry out the work He intends for us to carry out on our own.

But how do we “remain” or “abide” in Jesus.  I think it’s a lot of things.  It is reading the Bible and listening to biblical teaching on a regular basis so we know how to obey Him.  It’s praying, thanking Him, and staying in communion with Him through the day.

It’s the long prayer before bed, and the quick, “please give me strength Jesus” on the run.

All parents want their time as parents to be described as “fruitful”, but where does it start?  It doesn’t start with play dates and social interaction.  It doesn’t start with activities and lessons.  It doesn’t even start with education and schooling.

All of these are good and fine., but Jesus says if we want our efforts to bear fruit in every area of life, including our parenting, it begins with our relationship with Him.  We must “remain” in Him.  That’s not a guarantee for perfect kids, especially since there are none, but it’s a simple reminder that we can’t do anything apart from Christ.

Jesus promises to be with us, and getting to the place where we know we can’t do it without Him is a good place to be.

We live in a scary world, and there is no shortage of different opinions regarding parenting strategies.  I want to parent out of wisdom from God, not just the current parenting fad.  I want what I pour into my kids’ lives to make an eternal and lasting impact.

Sometimes the weight of that responsibility lies so heavily on me, but I also love the truth that if we have trusted Jesus to save us from our sin, He has promised His Holy Spirit to actually live in us, to give us power (Acts 1:8).  God also promises that He will give us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5).

I am amazed at how many times God has answered our prayers when we are struggling in some aspect of parenting or family life.  I will often ask for wisdom and shortly after find the answer I needed in a parenting book or advice from a friend.  When I am discouraged I ask again and again for the Holy Spirit to fill me, to give me wisdom, to lift me up and encourage me.

We are never alone.  I hope that encourages you.  It does me, and yet I forget.  It’s a daily struggle.  When I am clinching my teeth trying not to raise my voice because I am frustrated to the max, I want to remember Who is with me and ask Him for help.

I want to parent in a way where I am joining God in what He’s doing in my kids’ lives.  I want these short years with my children to count for something bigger than myself and my own abilities.  I want to look at my children as adults and be in awe, saying, “wow look what God did.”

Comments

4 Responses to “You Are Not Alone”
  1. Allison says

    Beautifully written Sarah! Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration!!

  2. I think that is awesome that you are homeschooling because you felt it was the better choice for your son! 🙂 It is a huge job, but I love it and do it daily with two sons….and no other kids at home! Blessings on your new journey!!!!

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