Doesn’t it feel good when you get something done right the first time? Or, when you complete a project and move on to another. Unfortunately, that’s not parenting. Parenting is a labor of love not one time, but continually...perpetually...again and again.
Sometimes we act as though our kids can be trained with one deft stroke if we could manage to be accurate enough, stern enough, loud enough, or wise enough as parents. We are dismayed and sometimes shocked when our kids don’t change their attitudes for good, stop the habit in a day, or cease to be repeat offenders. Swift and precise parenting would save us time and energy, not to mention how good we’d feel about ourselves as mothers! But that is not how parenting is. In fact, it is precisely NOT how God designed it.
Consider the Israelites. The Lord patiently loved and led them, with chastening, for forty years in the desert. They never got anything the first time; in fact, they had to learn the same lesson over and over. How about Jesus and his disciples? Despite countless teachings, examples, and corrections from Jesus about what it was to be “first,” and what it was to be “last,” the disciples continued to get lost in the self-centered arguments of who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. And how about our dear apostle Peter, a perfect example of a repeat offender, a kid who just didn’t get it perfectly the first, second, or third time. The Lord knew that Peter was an unfinished work, and diligently molded him day by day.
I say this often, and I will say it again: Praise the Lord, He is not through with us yet.
If we are continual works in progress, should we expect our children to be anything different? The Father patiently trains, encourages, teaches, corrects, leads, demonstrates, forgives, loves, and disciplines us as his children. In the same way, we too, can trust that our work with our precious little ones will require diligence and patience in all these ways as well. We love because He first loved us. We can forgive because we are forgiven. We demonstrate long-suffering because He is forbearing with us. We discipline those little souls we love because we know His refining touch. We don’t keep a record of wrongs because ours has been wiped clean.
We know the privilege of parenthood because He has given it to us. Let us respond to our mission in motherhood today not once...but again and again!