The Cleavers We Are NOT

Have you ever watched those Nanny 911 shows? You know the ones with the unruly out of control children and the british woman (not a mom) who comes in and sets the family straight? I find myself thinking, “these parents are idiots! These kids are just spoiled rotten and need to be properly disciplined.” Am I the only one judging these parents? I’m guessing no…

Parenting isn’t for sissies, though. It’s HARD work. HARD. And exhausting. And today I’m having one of “those” days. I find myself crying out to God, and asking why. I just don’t understand. I thought I was doing what He asked me to do. I thought I was being faithful as a parent. Am I perfect? FAR from it. I’ve made a million mistakes! None that should require years of therapy for my children, but daily I fall short. Daily, sometimes hourly, I lose my temper, I respond ungraciously, I check out and care more about myself than my kids. But every time I come back to His grace and strength and forgiveness, and I start over.

I love my children relentlessly. I’d give anything for them. I want the best life they can possibly have, and that doesn’t mean “success” in the world’s ways, but satisfaction beyond anything the world offers by chasing after God’s plans for them. Every decision we make as parents is in consideration of their best interests. But they don’t get it. They think we’re trying to ruin their lives, or steal all their fun, or squash their dreams, or that we just don’t understand them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I find us having the same exact conversations with our kids over and over and over again, and nothing is getting through. It’s like beating my head into the wall. It’s making no difference, and my children are as stubborn and selfish and foolish as ever. I’m asking, “what am I supposed to be doing differently?” but I’m not getting any answers.

And as I was laying in my bed, exhausted from yet another repeat conversation and completely disturbed by the thoughts of my child, it hit me. I AM THAT CHILD. I am stubborn. I am selfish. I am a ridiculous fool. And YOU Lord have been that persistent Father. How many times have you tried to communicate with me and I just didn’t listen? I thought I knew better than YOU! I refused to see Your love and concern and protection as the only motive for Your directions in my life. I fought you every step of the way. I made everything more difficult for myself because I wouldn’t let go and just trust You. Now, I can look back and see His hand moving, and I’m so grateful for all the things from which He saved me, not the least of these is myself.

I can only pray that one day my children will look back and see the same of us, and the same of You. You’ve been there with them through every hardship and every triumph, and You’re not going to abandon them. And even when we fail as their parents, You will never fail them! You can be trusted. You are faithful. You are true. You are persistent. And You are lovingly relentless in Your pursuit of Your children. May they all one day know that of You, Lord.