“But we behaved gently when we were among you, like a devoted mother nursing and cherishing her own children. So, being thus tenderly and affectionately desirous of you, we continued to share with you not only God’s good news (the Gospel) but also our own lives as well, for you had become so very dear to us.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 AMP
Do you recall bringing your babies home from the hospital? Or even moments after birth? The world was perfect. You nursed them or fed them, cuddled them and you were content within the limits of the bed and the room. Nothing happening on the outside of those 4 walls mattered at that moment. God was gloriously showing you His miracle and you were drinking it in, thinking, it doesn’t get better than this! Thinking, life is grand and it is going to be so wonderful to help this little being grow up!
And then they started to grow up! BAMM! That threw you for a loop, right? That once reliant, dependent, non-verbal, snuggly being is now challenging your words, making choices you wouldn’t, and really trying your every bit of patience. Which is exactly what children should be doing. I mean, really, if they were to be compliant, dependent beings forever, they would never know how to live on their own. And our ultimate goal is to prepare our children for life outside of our secure home.
So, how do we handle all of these changes? Just when we find a balance in the constant struggle, another struggle emerges.
I like to take myself back to those early moments in the hospital. I like to think about my hopes and dreams on my child’s birthday. My hopes and dreams for my child, not for myself. I try to put my mind back to that place and pray. I pray that God will help me to see how to guide this situation immediately so that the dreams and hopes I have for my child can develop properly. I must also remember that my dreams and hopes for my child may not be their dreams and hopes. This really will come into play as they are teens and older. (I am not there yet!) However, I am prayerful that both of our dreams and hopes will merge together.
I pray for my children first and foremost that they will know God. That they will develop a relationship with Him and turn to Him and lean on Him often. I pray that they will find loving and caring spouses who will protect them and be a friend to them as well as a husband to them. I pray that they will find happiness in whatever career path they choose. And I pray that after all of these child-rearing years that they will still love me and respect me for all of the choices I made, right or wrong.
So, life in the moment is hard. Raising children in difficult. Everyday choices are endless and disagreements are inevitable. But, in the quiet of the night, with a newborn in your arms, you relished the opportunity. Don’t waste it with empty threats. Don’t waste it with angry words that cut. Don’t waste it with tired responses. Don’t waste it with not enough hours in the day for your child. Embrace this opportunity. It is 18 short years that pass in the blink of an eye.
Control you ask? Who should have it? Parents or kids? Neither. Give it to God and enjoy each other.