It's a heavy burden... A wonderful burden... But one that could break you.
On Sunday we were talking about the impact of our own upbringing on our parenting, and I saw again how much I have been influenced and blessed by my own parents. I also grateful for my Mum and Dad, and the way they modelled godly parenting... But I know so often I fall short of that. Its a small picture of the way I fall short of my ultimate Heavenly Father, and the wonderful way he parents me.
Too often, recently, I have felt rebuked when I have responded in anger to something Ava has done or said, and a little voice inside me has said "I don't remember my Mum ever using that tone with me..." Or "I don't think your Dad ever said something like that to you...!" It breaks me... And the weight of parenting feels so heavy, all over again.
And that's when I'm so very thankful for grace. The knowledge that ultimately, my children are a gift of God, and therefore while I do have a responsibility to love them well and model the gospel, my Heavenly Father holds their lives in his hands. And I can pray... Pray for strength to be a better mother, pray for forgiveness when I make mistakes... And openly admit that to my children.
Because I so long for this home to be a place where grace is felt... And that is hard. Because grace doesn't come naturally to me... This almost three-year-old has the ability to defy, to disobey, to embarrass me like no-one else... And in those circumstances, grace is hard. Grace is not the easy option... Walking her through her reactions, and opening up her heart is much harder, more time consuming and emotionally draining than simply yelling at her and requiring a quick-fix apology.
But I trust it will be worth it
Worth it because I can give my daughters daily into my Father's hands and say...
Lord, I make a mess of this parenting thing sometimes. I'm a sinner, parenting sinners... Thank you for your grace shown to me... That you love me unconditionally despite my flaws, that you gently discipline me, that you sometimes allow my life to feel uncomfortable and give me boundaries so that I grow, that you always have my best at heart. Help me to be that kind of parent... Help unconditional love, gentle discipline, growth and my children's best, even if that means being brave enought to not be popular with them at times, characterise my parenting...
This parenting thing is the most wonderful, hardest, joyful, painful adventure I have ever gone on... I'm so far from the Mama I always wanted to be, but grateful for the grace that I can start afresh every day in his strength....
Anyone else find this parenting thing hard at times??