30 Mar 2016

Perfect Isn’t the Point of Parenting (If It Is I’m in Big Trouble)

I lay in bed last night exhausted and looked at the ceiling. Then I got back out again and briefly knelt down next to my bed with my face pressed into the mattress and mumbled a prayer.

God, here I am. I don’t know what I’m doing.

For as much as parenting can feel like living on a hamster wheel, it’s also constantly changing. Such a strange dichotomy. Our oldest is headed straight for preteen and only two years behind him and several inches ahead of him our middle comes barreling after and both made my head ache yesterday.

They make my heart ache too because I love so much who they’re becoming.

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But I also don’t always understand their choices. And last night I realized, again, how vulnerable I am. How there are no guarantees and how I don’t have all the answers.

These boys are growing into themselves and Pete and I so badly want to help them grow into the best version of themselves. Yesterday did not feel like one of those days. Although, maybe that’s when we find the best version of ourselves. Maybe we have to dig it out from under layers of tears and grime smudged across sweaty, confused faces. Maybe growing up isn’t about inches it’s about rings. All these rings of becoming who you can be. Marked by all the moments you had to actually see yourself and your decisions and consciously adjust course.

Maybe that’s what parenting is. Course correction. A PhD in constant course correction.

After the boys had showered and later when they were shaking out their blankets and crawling onto pillows with the stuffed toys I hope they never surrender, they were little again. When they curl up their long legs and tuck their sinewy arms under their heads to sleep, I recognize them again. The familiar babies I held for hours through the shifts of nursing and burping.

I catch glimpses in their growing faces.

They’re caught in the in between and here I am trying to give directions and realizing I’m just as in between as they are.

So I crawled back out of my own bed and planted my face in the mattress and didn’t even ask for help. I just said, here I am.

Here I am God.

Please find me on your map.

Please find all of us.

I like to think of God with a giant, “you are here” star marked on His beautiful map of infinite possibility.

I just needed to know last night that at least someone knew where we’d all end up.

Then I could crawl back under my own covers and it was enough. Knowing that I’m not alone. Or expected to know it all or have all the answers. I can’t resolve all the conflict for my kids – especially not the kind that brews inside them. I can’t solve disputes with angry neighbors or tween boys who chase each other down the soccer field with frustrated yells.

Some nights all I can do is kneel down and say out loud all the things I can’t do.

Maybe that’s the point.

Comments

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  1. 1
    indogirl says:

    You always find the words to express what likely all of us have felt at one time or another. Good stuff. Thank you for speaking from that place of pain and surrender.

  2. 2

    I love hearing about your in between, LJ. Saying a little “even if not” whisper with you.

  3. 3

    This is just the best. I find myself lately whispering, or sometimes not whispering, “Jesus you are near.” And I can do that next thing because whatever is happening in my kids and whatever is happening with me that One Thing does not change and is my hope for me and for them.

    5 1/2 years ago your space here helped pull me out of a major mama funk. I was pretty sure we’d be wrecked. We’re ‘good’ now and I thank you for continuing to be a voice encouraging mama’s so we can go and do likewise!

  4. 4

    Just tonight as I tucked my 5 year old in and had a big talk about how we treat each other. I sat there with him and thought, I can’t let him go to sleep feeling like he might have let me down. So I lied down beside him and actually said, “I want you to be the best Noah you can be” The best version of you. “And sometimes I don’t know how to do that, I’m sorry. I love you so much” He was already half asleep but managed an, “Ok mommy, I love you too” I am in the thick of little kid. 7, 5 and 3 all boys and there is always a battle and always noise and always a need and as the days go on I don’t know what well to draw from because they all seem empty. Thank you Lisa for sharing your challenges as always, it helps to know that I am not the only one who feels like I’m in over my head.

  5. 5

    Love it! Thank you for your words.

  6. 6

    Lisa-Jo! Ilove reading your words. Thank you for grace, thank you for perspective. I am in the middle of that too right now. I feel like I am failing my childrend more than I should. I see my mistakes, but I also see how much I love them. And yes, it is good to know that the Lord is keeping watch over us and our children, that we have to rely on Him. thank you from France Lisa-Jo

  7. 7

    Yes. And I sometimes include in our out-loud, bedtime prayers, a request of help for mommy and daddy to be the parents we’re to be. The kids need to hear that we need Him too.

  8. 8

    This was utterly exquisite. As I read your words I was reminded of the water that collects on top of ice during a melt, the literal transformation in form, ice kissing water, an ending and beginning.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  9. 9

    Your humility and utter dependence on God in parenting is refreshing. I’m not a parent yet but I’m rather terrified of becoming one one day. I’m finding being a wife quite challenging enough. :) Thanks for validating that it’s ok not to know the answers, but to simply know that God is with us.

  10. 10

    Loving this! you inspired me ;)

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