Sometimes parenting is a sonnet.

Filled with moonlit, rocking chair, baby skin-to-skin moments.

But sometimes, it is just not.

Sometimes there are no words to beautify the exhausting moments of parenting. There is only a new kind of carpet cleaner cracked open for the first time and a pile of dish rags that have failed to remove the stain.

There is a hamster wheel that spins around each night the same. And each night the parents run around and around and repeat the same negotiations, sing the same songs, walk the same footsteps to bed.

And more often than not, bedtime is no more than a mirage.

Because boys will not lie down, their wild ways negotiating the unsteady trail over the edge of the crib onto the diaper genie and free. While parents look on, desperate, as their hope for a few stolen hours of alone time shimmers bright before it disappears.

Parenting is teeter totter up and down.

And the down deserves its own brand of honesty. The nights when the most you are grateful for is that the stains produced by sick kids happened in the middle of the bed so that there is room for exhausted parents to just roll over rather than change the sheets at 2am.

Or the critical word spoken out of fatigue or fear; the parental temper tantrum, the frustration that I would eat again if I could.

Sometimes parenting is a backwards story. You begin at happily ever after and work your way towards the achey breaky beginnings of the plot. Always holding the hand of miniature person, who is traveling in the opposite direction.

I must become less, so that they can become more.

It’s almost as if it was planned this way.

Especially the non-sonnet like moments.

By God’s marvelous design, few life experiences humble us quite as effectively as parenting. As parents, we exchange our formerly spotless houses, ironed clothes, and ordered lives for the chaos of an incontinent, noisy, spit-producing being with a temper that needs to be tamed and with a piercing cry that rivals the sharpest fingernails ever scraped across a chalkboard.

This tiny tyrant is providentially placed in our house with one grand program: to mold his or her parents into the image of our Lord.

The way up spiritually, is by looking down physically.

~Gary Thomas, Devotions for Sacred Parenting, pp. 46, 48.

So while it ain’t pretty, it appears to be pretty effective.

Just ask the woman who recently fell in love with a product that targets both pets and kids.

I only wish I was joking.

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PS: I’ve never done a giveaway before. But, I have a nagging in my heart that there’s someone out there who really needs the encouragement of Gary Thomas’ book. Someone who needs to be reminded that there is a reason for all the chaos and a beautiful design in the midst of the hardest days of parenting.

I want to buy you a copy of this book.

Slip a comment in anytime up to midnight on Valentine’s day (2/14/2010) and I will select one as the winner of Devotions for Sacred Parenting.

Because what you do is remarkable and I wish I could buy you each a dozen roses and a pony! But, in the meantime, I offer you this book — a less complicated shipping option!

UPDATED: GIVEAWAY WINNER

According to:

??Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

4

Timestamp: 2010-02-16 01:23:42 UTC

Which means that commenter number 4 – Amanda – will be receiving a copy of Sacred Parenting just as soon as she sends me her address. I hope it blesses you as much as it does me!

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