I remember bringing our daughter, Riley, home from the hospital. The outfit she wore seemed to swallow her as she nestled in her car seat. I felt at a loss. This was our first baby, and the doctors and nurses hadn’t sent an instruction manual home with us.
What if she cried and I couldn’t console her? What if she couldn’t get the hang of feeding? Would I remember everything they had told me about bathing her? Then she began to grow – and the real work of parenting began.
Our daughter is an adult now and has begun a life of her own with her husband. As we’re adjusting to the empty nest, I’ve had time to reflect.
As a parent, I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve made more mistakes than I can count (click to tweet). I marvel at God’s goodness as He taught me things about myself and my family, through the parenting process, that I wouldn’t have learned any other way.
1 – He showed me my selfish nature.
I’ve always thrived on accomplishments, whether it’s cleaning the house, balancing the checkbook, or writing a manuscript. I enjoy the feeling of being able to check off the tasks on my to-do list.
I know there were many times I missed opportunities to be a part of my daughter’s life, because I was busy with my own goals and objectives. Gentle nudges from my Heavenly Father reminded me to look for the teachable moments and speak His truth:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7
2 – He uncovered my pride.
It was important to me for Riley to do well in school. I remember getting angry at her on more than one occasion when her grades weren’t what I expected. The truth? I felt it was a poor reflection on me. Pride at its ugliest.
Through these life lessons, I learned to apologize and acknowledge that parents make mistakes too!
3 – He taught me to hold on loosely.
Our daughter was never ours to keep. She was/is a gift from God to be brought up in His ways. While she was living at home, it was our responsibility to introduce her to the Lord, and to show her what it looked like to live in obedience to Him.
The years of studying God’s Word and living it out, were to prepare her to continue the process in her own home one day.
We’ve entered a new stage of life now. The parenting manual has been set aside and a close-knit friendship has taken its place. It’s exciting to look back on the days of parenting and realize God was at work all along (click to tweet).
In spite of my mistakes and mess-ups as a parent, Riley has a heart for the Lord. She married a godly man and the two of them are looking for a church in their new hometown where they can get plugged in and serve. To God be the glory.
Parenting is tough. What step will you take to make your parenting more God-honoring?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the privilege of being a parent. Forgive me for the times I’ve failed to be the example I need to be in front of my child(ren). Thank You for the reminder that You are at work. Help me be faithful to share Your truth with those You’ve entrusted to me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Maria I. Morgan is passionate about sharing the truths of God’s Word with today’s generation. Originally an inspirational author and speaker for adults, Maria has widened her circle to include kids. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two retrievers, and two Maine coon kitties – the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to come!