Parenting is not for the Faint of Heart

For those of you have been parenting for some years now, can you remember back to when you held your first born? I can. I remember him all cozy in my lap. He was the definition of perfection. I don’t mean that he was perfect without sin. Just that he was truly fearfully and wonderfully made. His skin soo soft and smooth, perfect little fingers and toes complete with the tiniest little nails. Two dark eyes that looked like they were unsure if they really wanted to be open. Such a perfect little gift from God. Oh sure he has his imperfections even as I gazed at him for the first time. I had no idea of the slight flaws and imperfections that he possessed both physically and emotionally. We would find out a few days later that he had a small hole in his heart. Over the years other issues have presented themselves, but even with these imperfections I would not have traded him, because he was perfectly fit for our family as each one of our children are.

I was amazed as I looked at him for the first time at the overwhelming and incredible love that I had for this new little one. Before I had children I thought that I may possibly be able to lay down my life for another. In those first few minutes I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I could lay down my life for him. In that moment I caught a glimpse of my heavenly Father’s heart. I knew the love I felt for my child was only a fraction of what our heavenly Father has for his children. It made the sacrifice on the cross even harder to fathom. I could lay down my life for my child and maybe even for you, but, lay down my child’s life for you…?????

In small ways we do lay down our lives for them, as we put their needs over ours. Countless sleepless nights as we get up for night feedings. Then our nights are disturbed with little ones under the weather and dealing with bad dreams. We put down our books to read Frog and Toad yet again. Our wardrobe looks a little drab as we make sure that our ever growing children have their needs met. Just when we think we have found 10 minutes to do…we end up mediating a disagreement. We wipe away the tears of a child who has accidentally just broken something that was very precious to us. We explain that, yes, we may have cherished that item but it was just a thing and you are more precious than any material possession. In little ways we lay down our lives.

I believe all parents desire the best for their children. We have such an awesome task ahead of us as we help to shape them and lead and guide them. More than once we have come across a trail of evidence that lead us straight to the perpetrator who looked at us with imploring eyes as they vehemently denied any involvement in the crime. We see them desire a thing over their relationship with a sibling. We deal with all sorts of things in a day and as we long for our children to be holy and righteous as they follow their Savior’s example. Yet that is just it: they too are sinners in need of a Savior.

As we work on character issues with our children we find ourselves face to face with our own shortcomings. It sometimes feels as we correct our children that our own words are mirrored back to us. I am often heard saying to my children, “A soft word turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Only to turn around and bellow, “Ah, who just tracked mud in the house!?!” How about, “Don’t judge a person by mere appearances,” and yet we catch ourselves thinking things about someone we know we should not.

No, parenting is not for the faint of heart, we have to lay down are own wants and desires and be willing to put the needs of another ahead of ourselves. As we work hard at shaping Godly character in our children we are hit with our own imperfections and our own desperate need for a Savior. Yet as we continue to move forward on this Old Path we, slowly with God’s help, shape our children’s character as well as our own. It is an incredible blessings to be called a parent.

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