Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Hard Truth

I can get distracted by the little parenting details all day. Teaching someone who doesn't want to how to put on their shoes. Guiding another child over and again how to zip their coat. Someone doesn't know where the remote is. Someone can't find their socks (or shoes) when it's time to leave. Math is just too.hard today. There is a temper tantrum about the outfit they're wearing - that they picked out. The littlest will not sleep, regardless of the fact that she's exhausted.

Sometimes I focus on all the hard things. There are days when my husband walks through the door and all I want to do is complain. Sometimes I do. Those little things that happen all day pile up, and the work you do that seems thankless doesn't stop. There are tears, and frustration, and temper tantrums. You bribe, succumb, throw a mini tantrum of your own, and deposit tired children in their beds, because they just can't handle being awake any more.

Some days I get overwhelmed by all the wonderful moments of parenting. The snuggles, the smiles, the laughing, the moments when they say, "I love you mama!" They help each other and me. They pick up all the toys without being asked. They stir the eggs in the morning. They clamber all over each other to say the prayer before a meal. They sing, dance, and delight in drawing pictures for everyone they've ever met. They say funny things and make up hilarious stories. They hold my hand and make me feel like the luckiest mama on the planet. 

It's a hard job. Anyone who tells you different hasn't ever done it. It is also the best job in the world, anyone who says different hasn't ever done it.

There is no pause button that will stop the work, the requests, the sweet moments, the love, or the train ride that is parenthood. Full speed ahead and watch out for sharp turns and scenic routes, because there will be plenty.

Just when you think you have one kid figured out another child throws you for a loop that you did not see coming. They're always changing.

Each kid is unique in their own right and trying to be the right parent for each child is a challenge. The challenge lies in the fact that you're trying to be a different parent to each child, while still being the same parent (person). Talk about multiple personalities...

In the midst of all the distractions and tasks that abound in parenting we tend to forget something terribly  important.

These aren't our kids. 

We talk about how the kids who live in our house are ours all the time. We love them more than anything. We do more for them than they will ever remember, think about, or realize. The fact remains that they're not our children; they are God's children. As much as we love them He loves them far, far more. As much as we do for them, he does infinitely more.

When you care for something that doesn't belong to you, it is a big deal. When you borrow someone's vehicle driving it carefully, making sure you clean it before giving it back, and filling it up with gas, generally speaking, is the best policy.

Eventually these little people that God has entrusted us with will leave our homes. When they do we want them to be in the best condition possible. We have to be careful with them, make sure they're well taken care of, and filled up.

There are so many ways of taking care of children's needs, but all too often the most important need, the one God cares about the most is sorely overlooked. 

The biggest issue isn't making sure that they're fed. It isn't making sure they have the best education or that they're given the best experiences. Even being the "right" parent to each child doesn't top the cake. Goodness knows, a lot of those things are important and essential as a parent, but far too often we forget the most important thing. Those needs that we wouldn't ever think of neglecting, such as their physical, emotional, and educational needs pale in comparison to their spiritual needs. 

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"  - Matthew 4:4

God gives us this beautiful window of time with these precious souls. Our time with them will not last forever though, because as much as we want to claim them we cannot. They are God's precious children. We have the important and essential honor of taking care of these people for a little bit, while teaching them all about their real Father in heaven. We get to tell them how special God created them to be. We get to share everything that God has done for them and everything He desires for them. He can meet their needs thoroughly and without omission. In our brief moments with them remembering to meet their spiritual needs every day as often as possible will do more for them than any college, diet, exercise regimen, or vacation put together.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:5-9

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