4 Ways Parenting Refines You
If you're reading this, you're likely either a mom already or would like to be a mom one day. "They" say it's a noble calling; it's an honour, a privilege, and a gift to be able to raise children. While all of that is true... it is also a challenging, frustrating, maddening, sorrowful, lonely, and refining experience. That's not a bad thing, really. Because I'm sure that God created it so that parenting refines you. It doesn't make it easy, but it does mean that He is working it all out for good and that you're not alone!
4 Ways that Parenting Refines You
As a mom, you could literally be afraid of everything. EVERYTHING. Seriously, everything in life poses a possible threat to our children's well-being.
Oh no, tap water!
Oh no, dirt!
Oh no, paper cuts!
Oh no, bicycles!
Oh no, sports!
But that's no way to live. It wouldn't be good for you or your marriage or your kids. And it wouldn't be good for your relationship with God, either.
When we live in fear, it's a choice... a choice to believe lies instead of the truth, a choice to rely on ourselves instead of putting our faith in God.
At some point in our parenting journey, we have to let go. It usually starts with little things like allowing our toddlers to walk instead of being carried safely in our arms. But eventually, it gets really difficult. Trusting that everything will be okay when our kids are out of our sight, making their own decisions, and spending time with other people, is a tough thing to do... but it's necessary. And good.
If you thought you were insecure before having kids--watch out! Becoming a parent brings up a whole 'nother level to our lack of confidence and fear of judgement. Not only are you responsible for yourself, but you become responsible for another human being. It's a massive responsibility! One that we feel completely inept to carry out.
Thankfully, we don't carry the responsibility alone (even if you are a single parent!) In addition to putting our faith in God to overcome our fears, He also helps us find our confidence in our new role.
God provides wisdom when we don't know what to say, direction when we don't know what to do... and GRACE, when (not if) we screw up. We won't ever be perfect but we can be confident moms when we're living in light of God's truth.
Plus, when your confidence comes from your identity in Christ, judgement from others starts to matter less and less.
Whoa baby are we ever a selfish lot! I mean, even if you've been married for years, you are never forced to see your selfishness in quite the same way as when you have a child.
Your sleeping, eating, relaxing, showering, etc. all become determined, at least in part, by your baby. It doesn't matter if you want your space and don't want to be touched. It doesn't matter if you want peace and quiet for 5 minutes. Your life is no longer all yours.
We would all love to say that we know we're not the center of the universe, but that's not what our time nor our money communicate.
Becoming a parent is a step towards understanding the importance of a life of unconditional love, generosity, and service.
You know you are or were one of "those" women. The ones who glance sideways at women with kids thinking, "I will NEVER do THAT when I'm a mom!" Well, guess what? You either are that mom or you will be that mom...
That mom who does what she needs to do to get her kid to sleep, get her kid to eat, get her kid to stop throwing a fit in the grocery store isle... That mom who is doing everything she can to do right by her kids AND survive the parenting experience.
When you get to the point in your parenting journey where you feel like a total and utter failure, that's where the judgement for others starts to fade away and grace comes in where it's needed most.
In my own life, nothing has kicked the legs out from under my pride and arrogance like being a mom to three kids. It's hard and it hurts. But it's refining.
We're called to be like Jesus--that's why we go by the name "Christian" (little Christ)--so if there's an encouragement in all this pain and struggle, it's that God is using your kids to make you more like Him. He'll strip away everything that isn't exactly who He made you to be, and leave all of the goodness that He created in you.