I’m thankful to welcome my friend, April Emery, to my little space today. I met April through my brother as we had many similar interests. April blogs at aprilemery.com so be sure to check out her space too. Thanks for sharing here, friend!
Regardless of the morning, week, or even year you may have had … regardless of what you may think or feel right now, your children are a blessing from God.
• Psalm 127:3 — Behold, children are a gift from the LORD
• James 1:17 — Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above
As a mother of young children, it’s easy for me to forget that truth in the midst of the daily grind. It’s easy to believe this when my children are respectful and kind to one another or are sleeping.
But my children are also gifts …
• when my youngest bites, pinches, or hits his sisters
• when my child wakes up in the middle of the night sick and can’t fall back asleep
• when my baby insists on rolling over in the middle of a diaper change
• when my child just won’t “get” potty training
• when my daughter slips and falls in a pile of dog vomit at Petsmart because she was not listening when I said, “there’s doggie throw-up right here. Watch out and don’t step in it.” (#truestory)
• when both of my girls decide they want to have a party as soon as it is “lights out” at night
• when I have to pack up and leave the store in the middle of a much-needed grocery run because of disrespect and disobedience.
Even in the midst of these times my children are a gift.
And yours are, too.
Parenting is the hardest, most demanding job in the world, but it is also the most important job in the world. It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day and forget the importance of your job as mom or dad. It’s equally easy to forget about how those little people in your house are walking gifts from God.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is described on more than one occasion as “pondering and treasuring” things/moments in her heart in regards to her son Jesus. We should follow her example.
So how do we treasure these gifts?
1. STOP, LOOK, LISTEN
Slow down. You can’t appreciate something you don’t take the time to observe. And doing this forces us to step outside of task mode for a while and appreciate the uniqueness of this stage of parenting.
I have a running “quote book” of all the funny things my kids say/do. I write the date, who I am quoting, and the quote/action in a journal. On a long, hard day (and perhaps one day when they are grown) I can flip through it and cherish those precious moments.
2. BE FULLY PRESENT
Parenthood is not just about the destination, but the journey. You can’t plan a vacation to the Grand Canyon and then expect to magically appear there once your bags are packed. You must travel over hours (or even days) to get there. You get to your destination point by going through the process of traveling.
Likewise with parenting.
Parenting is not just about raising kids to leave the nest, but enjoying the journey of getting there. Don’t wish their childhood away. Enjoy each stage for what it is. The next stage will come. If you are constantly hoping for the next thing to happen you will look back on the time you had to raise your children with an immense amount of regret and an ache in your heart. If most of us are honest with ourselves, we probably already have some regret.
3. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
If you are like me, you probably are thinking of all the ways you have failed to recognize your children as gifts … or how you have failed to treasure them where they are in life right now. If you are in this place let me encourage you with this verse from Lamentations 3:22-23:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Let’s extend this mercy to ourselves. Don’t let your past mistakes define you. They are only part of our journey. Learn from them and move on. Life is not about just the mom or dad you were today, but the one you are fighting to be. We can learn from our bad days, but then we must let them go and move on.
We can extend this kind of grace to our children, too. Like us, they are human and will fail us… just like we fail God. But we can’t let their mistakes define who we think they are. Just as the Lord gives us new mercies each day we can extend those same mercies to our children.
God made no mistakes in giving you the children you have to parent. He’s using every ounce of joy and heartache from your journey. If God wanted someone else to be the parent of your child He would have done that. You are not the perfect parent, but you are the best parent for your children. You have things to offer your child that no one else in this world can. He will use you in your child’s life, but He is also using your children to make you more like Him in the process.
Mama-hood is sure a hard task, but it’s so rewarding. Let’s grab on to the Hope we have and parent with presence and grace. You are a much better mama than you give yourself credit for.
April Emery is a campus minister’s wife and homeschooling mama to 3 children. When she’s not busy with school lessons and field trips April loves to sharpen her photography skills, be outdoors, or go on a road trip. She is a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope and blogger over at AprilEmery.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.