One of the predictable things about life is its unpredictability. At some point, we all inevitably find ourselves in the midst of undesirable circumstances- job loss, financial setbacks, illness/injury, and even simply just being overwhelmed with life’s demands. But even while our circumstances are ever-changing, our parenting does not have to be subject to our stress.
Easily angered. Lashing out. Yelling. Harsh words. All these indicate a problem beneath the surface. Perhaps telling our kids for the 100th time to clean their room can bring about this hostile side in us all, but most often, these symptoms stem from two frames of mind: Fear and Anger. We are either afraid or anxious about what could happen or angry about what is happening in life.
I’m not referring to the irrational fears we can sometimes conjure up (like plugging your common cold symptoms into Web MD and wonder how to tell your family you have 6 months to live), I’m talking about the logical, real circumstances that bring out our innermost insecurities within our lives.
As a result, our children become the captive targets of our stress-induced behavior. Our impatient and unwise words fly through the air like fiery darts to the soul. It burns. it aches. It hurts. It leaves a lasting scar. You feel defeated. You feel guilty. You feel frustrated. You wonder- how does God expect me to act (and parent) when life is difficult?
One of the most wonderful attributes about our Heavenly Father is that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is not shaken by circumstance and thankfully, He is not moved by emotions. If we desire to mirror God, we first must understand His nature. He is Good. He is Faithful. He is Joy. He is Grace. He is Patience. He is Peace. He is Gentleness. He is Love. He is Constant. As His Daughter, I have full confidence in Him, knowing He always remains the same.
It is easy to feel like a failure when life is weighing heavy on your heart. But even though we may not be able to control our circumstances, we can control our response. God does not just demonstrate His goodness, He offers us the grace to continue to faithfully persevere and rise above the trials.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility gentleness and patience.” -Colossians 3:12
We must gird ourselves daily with gentleness and patience. This is required of parents every day, but especially when facing trying situations, we have to remind ourselves to exemplify our Heavenly Father. He is so patient with our shortcomings. He is firm, but gentle with His corrections. And when we mess up again and again, He continues to reveal His compassion as He picks us up, dusts us off and leads us forward. When times are trying and parenting is testing your patience, don’t fly off the handle at every chance. And when your children desire to cling to you, just as we do our Heavenly Father in times of need, don’t give in to your emotional urge to be alone by pushing them away, but lavish them with love. God never turns His back on us when we seek Him.
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” -Proverbs 12:18
When we eagerly speak without careful consideration of our words, we will likely regret them. God wants us to use our words wisely, because the tongue is powerful. This is why the Bible encourages us to be “slow to speak” (James 1:19). Our words can bring about two possible outcomes: they have the power to speak death or speak life. As parents and followers of Christ, we are called to speak life! Don’t be so quick to be harsh with your children as a result of your own frustrations. Even when we fail, God reminds us of His sufficiency and love, not our imperfections. Consider the grace that God has abundantly bestowed upon you before you speak to your children.
“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10
Paul charges us to be “content in all circumstances,” (Philippians 4:11) because in EVERY situation, God is in control and He is our source of strength. Do not allow the difficult situations rob you of the joy of being a parent. Being a parent is a blessing, since “every good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17). Enjoy your children through every season of life, no matter what struggles you are facing. We don’t get this time back with our kids, so don’t spend it sulking in your stress, but choose to operate in the joy of the Lord.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6 & 7
Prayer is our strongest defense in times of trouble. When we lean on God, His sustaining power guards our hearts and minds so we can focus less on our circumstances and more on the important callings He has for our lives- ministering to our family.
Remember, fellow moms, that in every situation, we hold the power of Christ within us to rise above. Persevere in your parenting through the trials. Be good. Be faithful. Be joy. Be grace. Be patience. Be peace. Be gentleness. Be love. Be constant in the parenting of your kids no matter what you are facing. They depend on our hands to guide them, our words to train them, and our behavior to be the reflection of our Heavenly Father.
The Humble Homemaker