But this morning during my TWG (time with God) I was asking Him for greater patience and telling Him how difficult I think parenting is, and I had these thoughts:
If I have difficulties in my marriage, am I a failure? No—that's normal when two individuals with differing ideas, personalities, and life experience come together under one roof. The key to their success is being humble before the Lord and unified through Him. Does "success" mean they never have strife? No. It means they don't give up, but keep striving to be obedient and faithful to God's ways.
So... if I have difficulties as a parent, why do I think I'm a failure?! In raising children, I'm starting out with raw material (not necessarily a blank slate, as the sin nature is present from birth)—and I have 18 years of training, teaching, loving, correcting, etc. these young, unique individuals. So what does "success" in parenting look like? Does it mean I never have strife? I don't think so. It means I am seeking the Lord for guidance and wisdom, and I am being faithful to do what He leads me to do.
I need to stop asking, "Why is this so difficult?" And I need to stop looking at anyone else's family and thinking they have it easier. (Quite frankly, if God had given me "easy" children, I probably would be judgmental and self-righteous toward others... so for that reason, I am thankful God knew which children to give me!) I don't think God calls His people to "easy" anyway. I need to trust that God has a purpose and a perfect plan.
This quote from an article in Christianity Today, called The Myth of the Perfect Parent, soothes me—especially in light of those who are considered "faith heroes" in Hebrews 11, many of whom "were raised in anything but model homes, and many of them were themselves highly flawed parents"—
"We will parent imperfectly, our children will make their own choices, and God will mysteriously and wondrously use it all to advance His kingdom."
Yes, Lord! Use it all for Your glory!