The excitement rolled off him as he collected his backpack. A quick prayer and goodbye and he was out the door. It was his first day of high school. I felt an odd mixture of emotion. I was thrilled for him to begin this new adventure. But I was anxious too. He was entering the great unknown of high school and I couldn’t hold his hand anymore like I did when he was a little boy. I felt like I was in over my head. All the worries, what ifs and question marks threatened to drown me.
Maybe you felt the same as you walked your firstborn to the bus stop for the first time. Or as your “baby” drove off to college. Maybe you felt overwhelmed as your middle child proudly presented you with his or her driver’s licence. We’ve all experienced the wave of doubt that we are not fit for the job of being a parent.
When we decided to have children we didn’t realize we’d need a degree in psychology, nursing, and teaching. I didn’t know I’d have to be a dietitian, a mediator or therapist. Sometimes I just want to quit because I think I’m going to fail. Do you ever feel that way?
There are three things that I have been reminding myself about lately. Maybe they’ll help you too as you navigate parenthood and change.
First, you are the parent for your child. I have a quote I’ve kept since my boys were teeny tiny. I don’t know who said it but this is the gist of it:
“You are the only Mom for the job of raising your kids. God picked you and no one can meet your kids’ needs like you.”
We may think we’re in over our heads, but we’re not. We might feel like the worst mom ever, but that’s a lie. God will use our weaknesses to shine us up into the people He created us to be, if we’ll let Him. He will use both our strengths and weaknesses to do the same with our children. He doesn’t waste anything and our journey is going to help shape our children into who God intended them to be from the beginning of time. Trust Him for it.
The second thing I’ve been reminding myself about lately is how God went ahead of the Israelites in the desert.
“The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.”
Exodus 13:21 (NASB)
This has been my prayer lately; that God would go before us into the unknown of each day. He’s not going to be surprised by events or circumstances at high school, middle school or primary school. At work. At home. If He’s gone ahead of us then He will lead us through the unknown. He went before the Israelites to guide them on their way and He will do the same for us.
Finally as James writes,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
James 1:5 (NIV)
As a parent, I pray this a lot! There’s no shame in asking for wisdom and help. We serve a God who is more than willing and able to answer. Abundantly. He will do it!
You are the parent God designed for your child.
He goes before you to lead you.
Ask for wisdom and He’ll generously dole it out.
I’m holding onto these three things as we step out into the great big unknown. He loves us and He loves our children.