8 Truths to Cling to if You Feel Like You've Failed as a Parent
I have gone through all the seasons you go through when you raise children. I remember feeling fearful and overwhelmed with the weight of responsibility when they were babies and then transitioning into being very focused and intentional as I trained toddlers. As they got older, I read book after book, resolving to do things “right,” convinced that we had a pretty good handle on what we were supposed to do and the direction that we should go concerning schooling, discipline, and family life.
As our children began to get older, it became increasingly clear that we were dealing with something much bigger than what we had realized when they (and we!) were younger, and that it wasn’t so easily figured out after all. I was changing and growing, and so were my children, and we didn’t even believe some of the things that we had held to when they were babies! We came to the realization that we were dealing with individuals. Not a formula or project to be accomplished, but people that were growing up and had entered the same battle of life that we were in!
As parents, and members of the body of Christ, we should strive to always view one another through eyes of grace, remembering that God allows us to partner with Him in parenting the children He gifts us, and that, although He works through broken vessels like us, He is able to do His work in spite of us. Keeping that in the forefront of our minds will help us to come along side other parents who are facing difficult times with their children. I was able to practice this way of thinking not that long ago.
While at an event recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with a mom of 3 grown children. Out of the three children, two of them are not walking with the Lord. She is very weary. At the beginning of the evening I intentionally pulled her away from the party and found a private place for us to talk. We sat down and tears immediately began streaming down her cheeks as she told me how, at one point during this journey she has been on with her 2 precious, rebellious children, she withdrew. After all, 2 of her 3 children aren't living for the Lord. What does she have to offer anyone in the church? She has failed.
I had the privilege of reminding this faithful, godly woman of truth. If you are in the same boat and parenting a rebellious child, here are 8 truths to cling to.
8 Truths To Cling To If You Feel Like You've Failed As A Parent
1. You did the best you could.
You did the best you could with the knowledge you had while raising your children.
2. We are not perfect parents.
God is the only perfect parent.
3. If there are areas of failure, you are forgiven.
Take some time and ask God to show you anything that you may have done that was not the best. Repent and ask for forgiveness of anything he may show you, then ask your children for forgiveness. God forgives you and so will your children!
4. It's not all up to you!
Ultimately, God is the only one that can do a work in our children's heart. We do not have the power to do that work.
5. There is not a list or a formula for parenting.
As parents we desperately want a formula -- a list of things to do that might guarantee that our children will do what is right. That formula does not exist.
6. God does not fail.
God is good! Because God is the one who does a work in the heart of our children, even if you did fail as a mom, God has not failed! God is good!
7. You have MUCH to offer the church!
You have this message to offer: God ultimately is the one who will capture the heart's of our children and GOD IS GOOD!
8. The story is not finished yet.
THERE IS HOPE!
Yes. There is hope! God is good!
The process of raising children has been an amazing tool that God has used in my life. One that continues to humble me and has gently pried my once clenched hands that held onto ideals and intentions, forcing me to let go and release my agenda to God with open hands.
Now that both of my children are grown and married I have the benefit of a perspective that one can only have after going through years of raising children. I see the things that we did well and the things that could have been done better. I see moments of huge failures and moments of sweet victories. There are things that I wish I could do over, words that I wish I’d never said, issues that I over analyzed and made too much of, and issues I should have spent more time discussing. And the reality is, no matter how focused, intentional, and resolved I was over the years, I am an imperfect parent and so is my husband!
Thankfully, our children are grace filled, forgiving people. As we have opportunity to process and honestly talk about their childhood experiences, my husband and I are able to ask for forgiveness when we need to and we are able to clarify anything that was misinterpreted when they were younger. We openly admit that we are not perfect and that we are still learning, and that gives our children the freedom to talk with us about things that they need to talk about. I believe this will be an ongoing discussion for years to come and it will help them as they move into starting families of their own.
Isn't it encouraging to know that God is good and that He REALLY IS in control? That He REALLY DOES want what is best for us and what is best for our children - - even more than we do!
We must cling to the truth that God is good and that there IS hope!
Are there circumstance that are you walking through today that tempt you to lose hope? Is the enemy whispering in your ear that God is not good? Take time to share that in the comments so that we might be reminded that we are not alone in this battle! We are in this together! Keep clinging!
Gina Smith is a writer and author who has been married for 31 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For the past 20+ years Gina and her husband have served on a Christian college campus as the on campus parents, and her husband has been a professor and dean of students. They have lived on the campus where they raised both of their now married children. Gina writes for iBelieve.com, Crosswalk.com, millionprayingmoms.com, is a devotional writer for Million Praying Moms' “Pray the Word Journal", and recently authored her first book “Grace Gifts: Practical Ways To Help Your Children Understand God's Grace". She also writes at her personal blog: ginalsmith.com.
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