We Are All Inadequate
When I was recently invited to teach a parenting workshop, instead of jumping at the opportunity, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of dread. I have so many regrets and sorrows over mistakes I’ve made and moments I’ve lost. The thought hiding in my heart was: if anyone knew what a bad mom I was, they never would have asked ME. I mean really, I’m a blubbering train wreck of regrets. So, I met with my friend and basically talked so long that I went full circle from deciding I had no business giving parenting advice to actually thinking I may have something worth sharing. And the truth that let me arrive at this conclusion and empowered me with courage is this simple thought: we are all inadequate.
We are all just sinners raising sinners. Futhermore, I believe, that when we can accept that simple but profound reality, then we can face the task of parenting while also encouraging each other in truth and love. The mistake we make from the beginning is believing that everyone else, or at the very least, someone else has it right. That there is a right way to parent. As long as we believe there is a right way to parent then we can only draw one of two conclusions:
1) That someone else does parenting right and I do it wrong (which is paralyzes me with fear and regret)
2) That I do it right and everyone else does it wrong (which is arrogant and bound for failure).
There is no formula and there are no guarantees. There are a lot of great strategies and suggestions, which I will get to over the next few weeks, but that is all they are, strategies and suggestions.
But lest you give up before we even begin, know this to be true…there is HOPE IN CHRIST. If anyone can point us to our need for a savior, it is our own kids, our flesh and blood. The Lord refines us through our children. It is as if our children hold up a spiritual mirror that reflects our own sinful nature. However, the love that we have for our children is so powerful that we, for quite possibly the first time, can no longer ignore our own sin and must address it. We come humbly before God asking for Him to give patience and self-control when we are angry and have lost our temper one too many times. We pray for wisdom when we are bewildered by bickering kids. We ask for guidance as we are making decisions for our kids’ well-being; be the decision vaccinations or education. We beg for peace when we are worried. Finally, we come to the realization that our children do not belong to us but are on loan; that we are indeed, inadequate for the task of parenting and need God to take over. All this brings me to my first suggestion, which is rather, a requirement of parenting: pray without ceasing.