I used to think that parenting meant trying really really hard to create the ideal life for your child. The right food, the right house, the right books, the right vacation and the right parenting.
These things matter. But when a bomb explodes in your life and all your plans are wrecked and all of your “right” options are just kicked outta town, you learn a few things.
You learn that vacations are nice but what you do on rainy afternoons and another evening home is what makes warm familiar memories. The simple wrestling matches on the living room floor, telling funny stories and game marathons where one kid almost certainly ends up crying.
You learn that being a gourmet organic cook would be ideal, but kids will love the comfort of your simple wholesome cooking just as well.
You learn that it’s more about being consistent in immersing yourself and your kids in God’s Words rather than having the right words and right parenting techniques.
You learn that when your life is wrecked, it means a new beginning. An opportunity to model to your kids “Living the Wrecked Life” so they can see God’s grace living and active in your less-than-perfect life, instead of your perfection exalted and standardized. It’s humbling, but it bears good fruit.
I’ve learned that it can seem real convincing that if you just do this or buy that or go there or be more like them, your family will be better off. Truth is, you never can get the circumstances quite right for your kids and it’s the wrong battle to fight.
I think I’ve wasted a lot of time fighting the wrong battles and praying for the wrong things. God knows what you have and He’s not expecting you to better your own life. He’s asking you to lose your life and to find it in Him.
That’ll impact your kids a whole lot more than ship-lap in the kitchen and a cute farmhouse laundry sink. Although I do love those. But there’s bigger better things that have nothing to do with what you can provide or create.
It’s about living a life and leading your family in leaning into what God has provided, Jesus, and living a life of becoming a new creation of grace. His creation.
Do you feel that pressure lifting?
Maybe you’re living in a place far from family. Maybe your marriage is struggling. Maybe you’re facing staggering financial stress. Maybe you’re losing sleep because your life seems like a mess in every direction you look and you’ve never felt more “less than” in your life. And when you think about raising kids in the mess, you wonder how on earth they’ll survive it with you at the wheel.
Here’s the thing: the only circumstances you need to be successful, are ones that drive you to Jesus. The only parenting technique you need is dependency on Jesus. The only house you need is the foundation of Jesus. The only decorations you need are wisdom and grace. The only life you need is one in Him. The rest is just stuff that is passing like the wind. Life in Jesus is lasting and true and strong and good and saving – forever. It is the gold, the only gold in the stuff of life.
Bring your mess, bring your less-than-ideal, and come. Not scrubbed up and cleaned up and looking good. But empty-handed asking God to grow His work, His grace in the middle of it all. Don’t miss it.