Sometimes it seems like the easiest part of parenting is becoming discouraged. Whether we are watching our children struggle, or struggling ourselves with notions that we’re not good enough, not measuring up can be a parent’s constant, crippling companion. We need only scroll through social media or click on a few well-meaning parenting blogs to come up with the plausible conclusion: You don’t have what it takes to parent your children well.
And it’s no wonder we come up with this verdict. We have a constant accuser, an opponent who wants to steal our joy, crush our spirits and hijack the victory we’ve already been assured of in Jesus. Just like every athlete needs a locker room pep talk to remind them of who they are and what they’ve already accomplished, we parents need to be reminded of who we are and what has already been accomplished for us.
Although you’re more likely to find me in a laundry room than a locker room, we parents have ample access to some of the greatest locker room-esque pep talks ever spoken. These encouraging words of truth break through the lies that are shouted to us from every direction. Here are just a few:
You were chosen for such a time as this (Esther 4:14) – Just as God placed Esther in the palace at the right time to save her people, God also chose you specifically for each one of your children. He knew you would encourage each other, challenge each other and grow each other. God knew this generation of parents would need to stand firm and protect our children from invasive technology, assaults on the family and the rewriting of truths that have stood since Genesis. In all of His wisdom and love, He chose you for such a time as this to parent the children He gave you.
God did not give you a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) – It’s easy to become fearful as we parent our children. After all, we only get one shot and the stakes are high. However, we need not parent in fear. That verse goes on to say that we’ve been given instead, a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline. If we believed that verse and lived it out, how would our parenting change as we led our families with a God-given spirit of power, love and self-discipline?
The Lord will fight for you (Exodus 14:14) – What better Person to have on your side than the Creator of Heaven and Earth? When you get to the end of your parenting rope, He is there and fighting for you. The context of the verse gives these words their full weight. The Israelites are at the shore of the Red Sea with the full Egyptian army barreling toward them. Water in front of them, enemy behind them. No good options in sight. That, my fellow struggling parents, is the scene in which we read, “The Lord will fight for you.” And with that, God made a way where there seemed to be no way and He parted the Red Sea. He is fighting for you as you parent His children – even and especially in the most dire circumstances.
Run the race in such a way as to get the prize (I Corinthians 9:24) – I’m not talking about the prizes and titles we so often vie for – “Super Mom,” “Fun Dad,” or “Great Parent” – that are bestowed upon us by our children or peers. No, the prize here isn’t even how your children turn out. The prize is an actual crown from The Father as He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. I trusted you with my treasures (insert your children’s names here). You encouraged them. You loved them. You disciplined them for my purposes. You taught them about Me and showed them how to follow Me. You were faithful in your parenting even as you lived in a culture that rejected Me. Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Parenting can be isolating, but the resounding truth is that we are all struggling. Those around you may have struggles that look different that yours, but make no mistake, every parent carries a heavy burden in some form or fashion. And we all need a pep talk every now and then to bring us back to His truth.
So take courage, parents. You are doing important work that will not only shape your family, but our very world.
Now, get out there and get your prize.