Declaration #7 - Parenting is designed to deepen my dependence on God
I recently had coffee with a friend who is a first-time mom, and her adorable baby is getting older and beginning to look more like a tantruming toddler. She is also pregnant with her second child. So to say she was feeling really overwhelmed and defeated on this particular day would be an understatement.
This particular friend is familiar with how my parenting journey began, which just means she knows that when I first became a mom, and I had 3 little boys under 5, I had unrealistic expectations of perfection of myself, and therefore I had unrealistic expectations of perfection of my kids.
So she asked me, “What do you know now that you wish you’d known back then? What do wish someone had told you when you were in my shoes.”
I assured her there is still a lot I don’t know but I could tell her some of the things I wish someone had told me 13 years ago. So this is just one of the things I shared with my friend over coffee:
“This parenting thing is ridiculously beautiful and wonderful, and our kids bring us indescribable joy, but it’s also hard and overwhelming and sometimes downright scary. You will make mistakes and you will need do-overs, lots of do-overs, and you will feel like it’s all just way more than you can handle. So…….. just promise me this: On the days when you feel like you’re not enough, hold on tight to truth that you have an all-sufficient Savior who is enough! Christ IN YOU is more than enough. And what is hard for you is not hard for Him. So run to Him and rely on Him. That’s what parenting is meant to do. Parenting is designed to deepen our dependence on God!”
The Apostle Paul speaks about “dependence on God” in 2 Corinthians in a way that I find really powerful in my parenting.
This book of the Bible was a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. The Corinthian church was comprised of mostly inconsistent believers who had embraced a false gospel and were experiencing affliction. Paul wrote to them as someone who was well acquainted with affliction, and out of his great love for these people, he pleaded with them to embrace the true gospel.
So while Paul was not writing directly to moms in the twenty-first century who are under immense pressure, experiencing affliction, and trying to raise children in the truth of the gospel, I think we will see how his writing and encouragement apply to our daily lives.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10:
We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again.
The apostle Paul understood pressure. In the NIV translation in verse 8, Paul writes, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.”
Maybe it sounds dramatic, but there have been plenty of days when I have felt pushed far beyond my ability to endure in motherhood. No, my life was not at stake like Paul’s, and my circumstances were far less severe. But there have been some very hard and dark days when the enemy has flaunted my weaknesses and failures before me, and I have been swallowed up by despair.
Have you ever felt the pressure you are under in your mothering is far beyond your ability to endure? In verse 9, Paul showed us what pressure and peril are intended to do. He wrote in the NIV, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
Oh friend, how applicable this is to our parenting. The pressure we are under is intended to make us rely on God.
In Isaiah 26:3 (HCSB) we read: “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.”
And friend, in that place of dependence is not only peace, but there is power!
*** This post is part of the “February is for Freedom” series, and a brief excerpt from my book, Mom Set Free