The “world” says I am a Sagittarius.
According to the cosmic alignment of the moon, planets, and the timing of my birth, I’ve been labeled and categorized into a herd of late-November/December-born humans who are fiercely independent, free-spirited, and . . . aloof. Aloof? Really. Where do they come up with this stuff?
Apparently, we’re also embarrassingly blunt.
What’s intriguing is that it truly DOES take an act of God Almighty for me to say the right things at the right times. There is a time and place for my blunt, straight-up, no-holds-barred, real self and, to be honest, it has taken years and years of pain to get it [somewhat] right. I still don’t have it right. I’ll never get it right. Getting it “right” violates who I am to put it – bluntly. So while I cling to God trusting he will guide me, corral me, contain me, I know in my heart I won’t ever, ever, ever be meek & mild. That said, here’s some straight up truth about parenting.
We are not promised anything.
Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
You will pour your entire life into parenting. Some will sacrifice career advancement intentionally setting family as a priority. Others will forfeit a career, altogether. Oh, you’ll buy cute maternity clothes, you will study books, and blogs, and commentaries. Some will take birthing classes. You’ll contemplate hospital vs. home births and midwives. You’ll rearrange budgets several times over and eventually come up with something that works well enough, at least for the moment. You will spend a small fortune on redecorating. You will pack and repack your bags too many months before the real labor day. You’ll take more pictures than a few devices can hold. You will spend countless sleepless nights either feeding/nursing, coddling, soothing, crying, or praying. Fatigue takes on a whole new, cruel meaning. Showers become a luxury. You vaguely remember life pre-newborn or what your Hubby looks like but both are fading fast. You will begin to resign to the fact that the clothes you have are good enough for another year. And, then another. Suddenly, your weekly haircuts, periodic manicures & pedicures don’t seem so important. You will pray over your children, pray for their future spouse, teach them about everything under the sun from finger motion Bible songs, body motion childhood praise songs, and pages upon pages of Bible verses to art history, famous missionaries, and world geography. You will take them to VBS and spend thousands of dollars for them to go to camp every summer. You’ll sign them up for every noble activity that might augment and support your vision of building Christ-like character into your children. We teach. God do we ever teach. Hours upon hours of talking. And talking. And talking. Grasping at every teachable moment as if God only allows a specific quota. You trust God’s grace is sufficient for every bauble, every mishap, every failure. You set your life-goal to follow that seemingly lucid recipe for success.
Success. That “to glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever” kind of success. The kind of success that stops our children in their tracks when sin and temptation come calling. Because, after all, we followed the formula for success, right?
Spoiler Alert: We are not guaranteed this kind of success.
There are no promises. We buy all the expensive ingredients, mix them together in the most accurate proportions, and expect – success. I wish it were so. I wish – as an aging near-Titus 2 status woman of God – I could tell you how simple it really is: ” Just mix A + B very carefully, add a handful of God’s amazing grace, and you will get C.” Doesn’t always happen this way. You know why? Because in spite of every tried & true formula, our kids are still sinners in dire need of a Savior. Yes, even our Christian kids.
But you know what? The real “success” lives out in you and me, the parents. Real success – that God-honoring success – is in how we respond to trials, how we respond to disappointment, how we process anger, hurt, sadness, and betrayal. How we – love. If we are truly Christ-followers, love is the answer to every question.
The parenting life. It’s really not about our kids, at all.
It’s about God molding, shaping, changing, transforming us into His likeness. It’s really all about how WE “glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever….”