In Part 3 of Women Living Well, Courtney addresses parenting in light of our own dreams, our sinfulness, and God’s design. I think we can all agree—parenting is tough! We all have ideas of what kind of parent we will be. I think we naturally have high expectations. We want the best for our kids. We want them to be happy, healthy, love Jesus, have good manners, to listen, to be kind, and the list goes on.
The truth is that we are sinful parents dealing with sinful children. The meeting of two wills often results in unmet expectations. I love Courtney’s honesty is sharing: “The reality is I have found motherhood to be a very difficult road. The daily sacrifice and demands of being a mom can be overwhelming at times.” One thing I have discovered is that I am far more selfish than I ever realized. I can see this when I get frustrated with the little interruptions that children bring. Parenting brings out the reality of our sinful natures more than I have ever experienced and requires more self-sacrifice than I thought possible.
Never has the verse “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:18) had more relevance. We have a Heavenly Father who shares our hopes and dreams for our children. God wants to see all of His children grow in knowledge of Him and to live out His commands. As parents, we need to strengthen our relationship with God. It is so important for us to make time to renew our spirit and our hearts with His Truth. Then we must not only teach our children, but we must also train them. Courtney explains the difference: “Teaching is giving my children the information they need to succeed. Training is giving my children the discipline to carry out what they have been taught.” Teaching may be easy, but training is hard. It requires diligence on our part. Anger and frustration undermine our training. We must set the example and rely on God to help us not to respond in anger, but to respond wisely, steering our children towards holiness.
Lastly, forgiveness is key. When we are wrong by responding in anger or whatever else it may be, we need to ask for forgiveness, both from God and from our children. And then we need to let it go. Holding onto our mistakes can steal our joy and leave us miserable. Once we have asked forgiveness, we need to let it go and to let our children see us do so.
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