Looking Back | Thanking God for Your Parents

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Looking Back | Thanking God for Your Parents

Sometimes I wonder if my children have any chance at turning out remotely normal. After a long day of time outs, impatient conversations and more sugar than veggies in their diet, I often feel like I’m damaging my children for life. I long to parent my kids with grace on a daily basis, but struggle with accepting God’s daily grace for me. A month or so ago I was reflecting on this whole notion that I’m screwing up my kids by failing to be perfect, when I felt God nudging me to look back. I looked back to my past and saw 2 wonderful examples of parents. The parents I’m talking about are my own. I’ve heard it said that the older you get, the wiser your parents become. That is pretty accurate in my case. Of course, as a teenager, I felt my parents had no idea what they were doing which is why I {gasp} one time threw a parenting book down the stairs at my father in a fit. Yes, much to my dismay, apparently teenagers can throw fits almost better than a 4 year old. I was blessed to grown up in a home with 2 parents who loved each other, loved each of us 4 kids, and loved God. Now, next you might expect me to begin talking about all the ways they did every parenting method correctly. Maybe you think I’m going to tell you that my Dad sat down with each of us nightly and had long deep conversations about life. Or perhaps you think I’m going tell you that my Mom was perfectly joyful every day and dropped whatever chore she was doing to stop and listen to every little story we had to tell. Perhaps those assumptions give you an indication of what I often think makes a “good” Mom or Dad. The reality in our home was that I fought with my brothers. A lot. I argued with my parents. A lot. Sometimes my Mom got frustrated with me. Sometimes my Dad didn’t really listen to what I was saying. But what they did do made all the different in the world. Both parents were present, all the time. Dad always came home from work and we ate the meal Mom had prepared, as a family almost every night. Despite the fact that we didn’t always pay attention, Dad read a family devotional each night after supper too.  My parents also took us to church. Not just to put up a front for others, but because they loved God and wanted us to learn to love Him too, by worshipping with others. And by the time I came around (I’m the youngest of 4) my parents had stopped making rules for our family merely because others in our church did so. In fact, this is one area I’m especially proud of my Mom for. My Mother doesn’t seem to be cursed with the approval idol I so struggle with. She didn’t care if all of the other Moms were doing x, y and z. She did what was best for her family and kids, regardless. And my Dad never disciplined us out of fear for what others would think if they knew his child had done _____. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was a sponsor on a youth trip where one of my brothers made a few poor choices. Dad just continued to love him and didn’t punish him unnecessarily. My point is . . . had my parents parented us out of fear (fear of what others thought about them, fear of the culture around us, fear of failure) we might not have turned out the way we all did. Sure, we aren’t perfect, amazing human beings, but when I look at the lives my brothers and I are living I can’t help but thank God for the parents who raised us. Dad led by example and showed us what it meant to be disciplined, dedicated, generous and kind to strangers in our land. Mom led by example and demonstrated that we don’t need to spend our hours worrying and fretting over the future. God is in control anyways. If you are a parent with young children, I’d encourage you to look back. Thank God for the parents He gave you and the lessons learned during those years in that household. Even if you think you had less than stellar parents, ask God to show you the positive things. Then thank God for being the perfect parent. Ultimately it is HE that does the work in your children’s lives. He will work in your kid’s hearts despite your best and worst efforts.   {Originally published in 2012}

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