Kneepad Parenting

The Beacon - May/June 2012

By Polly Johnson • From our May/June 2012 newsletter

The Peace Corps has a slogan, “The toughest job you’ll ever love!” Parenting is definitely a close second, if not a tie for that bulls-eye of a statement. One of God’s greatest blessings in our lives can also be one of the greatest challenges, and we aren’t even talking year-to-year or week-to-week. We are in it moment-to-moment. It is amazing how high the highs are and how low the lows. No matter the moment though, it’s the feel of God’s guidance through it that makes it all come together.

“Why?” can tend to be a key word in parenting. We hear it from our toddlers, youngsters, tweens, and teens almost on a daily basis. The topic just changes from, “Why do the stars shine at night?” to “Why can’t I stay out all night?” As parents, we think it just as much, from “Why does he keep putting his finger up his nose?” to “Why the mess on her floor three feet deep?” We all want answers. We all want a concrete plan that explains everything to our liking at every step of the way. Yet, God doesn’t work that way.

When the kids were younger, I thought if I were diligent enough, I could read and prepare for almost every parenting issue. As time passed, the futility of  this exercise became glaringly apparent. Knowledge is important and helpful, but God has a way of humbling us with circumstances that we couldn’t even begin to imagine or prepare for as parents. That’s where trust and faith begin to grow, and we all know growth isn’t easy or painless.

In Mark 8, the Disciples are questioning Jesus’ ability to bring them out of another sticky situation after he had already proven to them time and again his power as the Son of God. In Mark 8:21 “He said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’” I’m somewhat comforted by the fact that I am in good company by my lack of trust at times, but I’m also amazed that, in thousands of years of God’s power and grace in history, any of us can doubt his ability to see us through. He has proven it over and over again in each of our lives. None of us are perfect and our faith will be challenged, but it is important to be reminded that God is in control and we just have to give it over to him.

That little word: faith! Of course, it shouldn’t be little, but to many of us it is far too little and far too late as parents. Proverbs 3:5-6 calls us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” If anyone had said at my baby showers, “Wow….parenting is such an awesome way to stretch your faith!” I would have thought they were a little out there. Now I see just how insightful that statement would have been. Maybe I need to start giving knee pads as shower gifts!

Now, as a parent, I pray and read more devotions than I ever have. I know I need it. We need God’s hand parenting us as we parent our children. After all, He loves all of us more than any of us can imagine.

So the next time you are challenged, frustrated, or depressed in your parenting path, remember you are not alone. Many of us are dealing with exactly the same issues and would love to help commiserate, but most importantly, allow yourself the peace and power that comes from giving it over to God. He is not just a resource. He is THE resource, for he is the ultimate Father. So even though it may be the toughest job you’ll ever love, you have the strongest ally you could ever imagine. Here’s to all of you this Mother’s and Father’s Day….may your kneepads be thick enough!

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