by Bethany Forster
Many lucky grownups like me can look back to a time of childhood bliss (blighted as it may be by pet deaths and mathematics). I imagine you would like your child to look back on the current days with similar fondness.
Is that thought discouraging? After all, you had to harass them for the fifth time today about doing their piano practice or you lost your temper when you walked into their room festooned with a week’s worth of clothes and carpeted with Legos.
Don’t worry too much, memory is kind. Although I do remember a few moments of parental wrath (humanly justifiable, I am sure), they are not the theme of my growing years.
Our family has not been and never shall be, I’m afraid, a bed of roses. But looking back, I see dedicated parents, as different as they were and as many problems as they faced, with one hand holding the word of God and the other arm around my shoulder.
Growing up being a recent memory for me, I speak from a daughter’s perspective.
Obedience, discipline, kindness…these things you want for (and from) your kids. And they are driven by relationship. (Even parts of the Bible we think of as “law” start with this, “I am the Lord, YOUR God…” Ex. 20:2).
Relationship is all a kid starts out with besides his own hunger pains. Hunger pains for milk or chicken nuggets, but also for a home. For consistency, love, security, and parents who have a more important game than looking like they have it all together.
You can change your math curriculum, skip some science, or never be able to review their last year of creative writing assignments (not that any of these things may have happened to me, cough, cough), and still be okay.
Because even when you or your kid go through a difficult season, there are two things you can give.
No matter your other struggles–from the insurmountable complexities of Latin to crippling depression to parenting alone–you can give them a secure relationship with YOU.
And most importantly, even when you don’t understand, and when sin seems to follow you, you can still show them that you have a secure relationship with your Father.
You may think of yourself as a failure. At times, you will fail. If they haven’t figured that out, they will soon. But one day they will stare at the ceiling and think the same thing about themselves, too.
Be a failure that points to a perfect, complete, life-giving Father who always loves you and gave His Son to die for you. In that, you are now enough. And out of you can flow everything you have received.
Bethany is fascinated by words and has a typical love/hate relationship trying to manage their kind into sentences, stories, and ideas. She works at a memory care home, ships orders at Doorposts, and writes and deletes words.
She is blessed by her strong, encouraging family, church, and friends, many of whom speak from the grave by means of the written page. She loves God sincerely and imperfectly and is learning what it means to run carrying the name of Christ.