Thursday, June 22, 2017

When you just don't know how to parent THAT child

It's me again.  I aspire to blog more, but life has me in the thick trenches of parenting right now and I just can’t quite seem to get it together enough to type out cohesive thoughts to make a post lately, ha!

I had a conversation with my hubby over the past week and I confessed to him and said “I just do not know how to parent this child!”  Our lil 2 year old (as seen above in a fitting picture) is a completely unique, strong willed little boy...well, probably more of a typical toddler, but my oldest spoiled me in his toddler years being dubbed as the easy one now, ha! I find myself in this season waving the white flag of surrender on an hourly basis.  I have become quite the Jekyll and Hyde momma, either harshly yelling at him to just STOP! or standing there is disarray not knowing what to do or say feeling like "I give up!"  I am at my total weakness with him.  The Lord has shown me His strength and wisdom through this time and I am so grateful He cares for us even in the details of life.  His compassion and mercy never fail to amaze me.  And bless my little ones heart, he can be the sweetest boy imaginable....but this parenting deal….it’s tough!

Earlier this week I was watching a video on the Weather Channel about an eagle.  The video showed rare footage of an eagle swimming in a bay.  Its wings flailing to stroke the water, meanwhile his head always remained just above the water.  He really actually looked like he was hurt because that was not his element, but the commentary stated that eagles sometimes do this when they catch a fish that is too large and heavy to pull out of the water.

Isn’t that what parenting is like sometimes?  Our children are such an immense blessing and treasure, however we can feel like we are just struggling to keep our head above water, plus it feels like SO MUCH WORK sometimes!  Not to mention it APPEARS as if we are just treading water!  But we know the reward we carry for hanging in there, even if we or others can’t see the fruit because it’s hidden under water.

The Lord spoke so powerfully to me in that video – many other things as well.  He has indeed equipped me for the task but it is a daily journey with Him.  Here are a few lessons He has shown me lately:

Prayer – I have cried out for the Lord to help me more in this season of my life than I can remember for a really long time.  I am in constant prayer asking for forgiveness, that the Lord would take the reins, that He would give me wisdom on what and how to parent and that He would make known to me His peace, that it really will be OK.   

Perspective – Just like the eagle knew the huge blessing he was carrying under the water, I need to remember that my children are a blessing from the Lord, a GIFT from Him.  Even though I may struggle and feel like I am drowning at times, when I focus on who God is and who I AM in Him, then His peace enters in and I can partner with Him as He guides me and sustains me.  The grace of the gospel reassures me and places my feet on a firm path.

Picking my battles – This has been really big for me because I struggle with allowing other’s expectations to guide the way I parent.  Recently I have decided to stop battling at mealtime…It has been a constant source of frustration and trouble for me since our firstborn started eating.  Eating has never really come easily for my children, but I feel like meal time is a really important relational time for young kids, and I don’t want a huge focus on food anymore.  I feel like this is a place that Joy has been stolen from me and I want to reclaim that.  This is new territory for me, because I think other’s expectations of how that time should look really influences me in in how I parent through that, and I want to let go of that ideal.  

Perseverance – The book of James and Hebrews tells us that God promises a crown of life to those who persevere under trial and that this work must be completed so that we may be “mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).  Joyful perseverance, I believe, is how God uses us to testify to His love, strength, power and glory.   I am using this time to lean into Him and to practice faith in believing that He is completing some a LOT of things in me in the process.   Just like my toddler, I am a work in progress with my heavenly Father.  Parenting in and of itself is a pursuit in perseverance, raising children into adults.  Praise Him for the grace he freely offers! 

Peer pressure – In a good way!  I find myself very needy in regards to surrounding myself with encouraging friends and family during this time.  They press me onwards to focus on Christ and encourage me that I never walk alone, nor do my children.  Even when I am a complete mess of a parent, God is always with my children.  I faithfully believe He can also redeem our greatest fears and worries for them.  I have a great group of godly women who pour into me constantly and I am so blessed and thankful for them!

Practicing grace – I am seeking the Lord continuously in this area.  I still do not know for sure what this should fully look like as it relates to parenting my children, but I do know the Lord is showing me ways to live simply and root myself in His gospel of grace.  The gospel of grace IS simple – Because Jesus Christ died for ALL our sins, past, present and future, in Christ we are a new creation, forgiven and accepted, adopted as God’s children and heirs to His kingdom.  All that is required of us is that we BELIEVE and accept this gift of GRACE and this truth.  Our children need lots of grace (as do we all!), so it gives us a chance to reflect on the grace offered to us through Christ’s sacrifice as well as model that for our children. 

Press in – More of Him and less of me.  Period.

Plainly said, I don’t have all the answers and that is OK!  With Christ, he promises I can do ALL things because of Him who GIVES me strength - it is a gift from Him, He delights in me!  In this weakness, I can lean into Him to make me strong.   I am turning my cry into thankfulness for the gentle way He is leading me and the truths He is speaking to me.  Even though on the outside, it may only look like I’m a sinking ship, or a swimming eagle =)

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