Being a parent brings many different challenges. Daily. Yet, it also results in so many rewards that are hard to describe to those without children. Whatever issues arise, by the end of the day there’s no question that being a parent is worth whatever trouble may come.
But I still struggle to remember that fact in the moment. When my children frustrate me, my irritation always seems justifiable. They have disobeyed, or done something contrary to the instructions they’ve been given many times before. In the moment, I can only think of the inconvenience that the disobedience, foolishness, or just plain loudness has caused.
As a Christian parent, I'm thankful that He reminds me of the truth of the situation once I've cooled down and the irritation has gone. When clear thinking returns, I'm reminded that my irritation is only because I've been inconvenienced … which is never a good cause for punishment or harsh words. It's a selfish reaction.
I remember that each time my child disobeys, or sins through their own selfishness, my job is not the protect myself or my time, but to point them to God. Each infraction is an opportunity to point them to the cross, to preach the good news of the Gospel.
Parenting is one of the best opportunities to practice daily the laying down of self and picking up the cross. His will be done, not mine. All glory to Him, not myself.
Parents, if you're a believer, please remember that your mission field is right in your home. Making disciples is the call for all of us and we don't have to go anywhere to do it. They're always watching, so through the power of the Spirit that dwells within us, let's be the salt and light that draws them to the Father.
A I get older, I get better at remembering all this. Even in the moment. Boy oh boy, there are days when I don't want to! But seeing the lights start to come on in their eyes is worth it.