The Holy Work of Parenting

Amanda Idleman

Contributing Writer
Published Mar 31, 2023
The Holy Work of Parenting

Why place me here in this role? The reason why I am here is that parenthood is holy work. It’s a gift to be the person for each of my five fearfully and wonderfully made children. 

Parenthood is such a journey. It’s one of the best teachers for us adults on how to be people of strong character. There is nothing like sleep deprivation and the constant bickering of your kids to really challenge your ability to be a person that responds out of God’s heart of love for his creation. Parenthood is a great humbling role. Some days it can feel like our failures way outnumber our wins, but either way, we have no choice but to keep at it because no matter, if we feel we are winning or losing the facts, are that our kids need us. 

Through God’s divine providence, we had our unanticipated soon-to-be daughter join our family last December. We are foster parents which means you really never know what your family will look like in another month or year! Life in this role is never dull. 

We are now a family of SEVEN, which for me, feels just massive. I am the last person I would have anticipated having a whole handful of young kids in their house to raise all at once but nonetheless, God brought us here, and it’s an honor to be on this journey. It’s tough, though. We are just starting to really feel and see the challenges and joys of our new family dynamic. I find myself wondering, between the constant meals, diapers, questions, quarrels, meltdowns, and more if this is maybe more than I can handle. 

The Pressures of Parenting

The truth is that this really IS more than I can handle. God has once again brought me to a place where I am forced to trust and rely on Him because on my own, I am not enough. Parenting, foster care, and adoption are all tough. Each part of this family we have been entrusted in needs something a little different. Each of our kids is looking for love, meaning, healing, truth, and joy with a unique view. When I start to really soak in these facts…those are the nights that I lay in bed with my mind swirling with all the ways things could go wrong around here. 

I’ve spent the past few weeks unknowingly letting the pressure mount in my body and my mind. I can feel my stomach tighten as my desire to control every outcome for my people grows. The weight of it all clouds my mind, and all I want is to go to bed. The words I hear are that I’m not enough. The lie tries to steal my ability to be intentional. To show up as best I can. It stops my faith and hinders my prayers. 

But God. 

He is good and sees each of us. He even sees me, momma juggling it all. 

An Answer to My Parenting Prayer

My quiet prayer has been to help me. Fill my tank. Give me the patience I need to parent through trauma. To love each child in our home with openness and joy. See, it’s not about perfection, but it is about showing up to observe the beauty. 

It’s giving them each a safe space. A part of that safety happens when I apologize when my words come out too tough, or my actions are too hurried. It’s admitting my struggles and accepting them in the midst of theirs. It’s being here for them because we each primarily desire relationships, and it’s my role to create a home that is filled with chances to practice knowing and loving each other every day. 

The simple answer to my quiet but sincere prayer came from Psalm 139. Our pastor shared this passage with us on Sunday, and it’s a Psalm I know well but don’t often hear talked about from the stage. It’s a Psalm filled with beauty, affirming each person's intrinsic value and Heaven-given purpose. 

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

- Psalm 139:13-16

The words from the sermon came back to my heart as I lay alongside my girls in their bed as they drifted to sleep. I watched both my girls as they snuggled their bears and chatted quietly before finally turning over to close their eyes and sleep. They are so precious, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Being a witness to their beauty, to their divine worth, prompted gratitude and praise in my heart. I get to be their mom; what a gift! What an honor! 

No matter how a child joins your family or what losses they have experienced, they are still made in the image of God. They are made on purpose, made with a purpose, and their mere existence is a gift. We just sometimes have to stop for a moment to be able to see it. God has woven beauty into us all.

God’s Reminder of the “Why”

I guess God’s word to me in that humble moment snuggled in bed was really a reminder of the why. Why place me here in this role? The reason why I am here is that parenthood is holy work. It’s a gift to be the person for each of my five fearfully and wonderfully made children. Thankfully, each of them is also His, not just mine, and I can trust that His grace is sufficient for all our needs as we share our lives together. 

Parents, we live in a world that wants to tell us that the Holy things lack value and that the useless things are what we should prize. We have to daily and radically reject this lie as we continue to day in and day out create the culture that defines our family. The road is narrow, and the journey is long. 

Be focused on your why and then be intentional about how you live. Without a relentless commitment to a family culture that prizes the things God tells us matter in his Word, the enemy is sure to take everything that really matters from our families. Write down what you want your children to see as valuable, how you want to spend your time together, how you hope to address relational strains, and what matters most in your home. Go back to these words again and again so God’s encouraging Spirit can remind you once again why you are living in this way. Stay the course, this is Holy work. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Thiago Cerqueira 

Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.