Parenting challenging children grows my compassion toward others parenting challenging children
If you parent a challenging child, you’ve likely smiled through unrequested advice, bit your tongue when publicly corrected, and pinched back tears against feelings of failure. You know what it means to give endlessly, sacrificially, and entirely to a child and STILL know your best efforts are inadequate.
This grows your compassion. You have less judgment and more patience than your pre-child self. You have less advice and more empathy. You offer less correction and more grace because you know how desperately you need to hear that grace spoken to you. You do not deceive yourself. You know you need the Lord to parent every day, and you shamelessly share this with other moms, praying they will also turn to Him for their strength.
You learn to celebrate the small victories and know they belong to the Lord
I am not up to the task of parenting a challenging child. Perhaps, that is exactly why God gifted me with one. Every milestone is a victory because that milestone once felt impossible. I’ve learned the important lesson that prayer doesn’t always change my circumstances or change my child, but it will always change me. I’ve accepted this struggle is just as much about my sanctification as it is about rearing my child in the ways of the Lord. I know God desires to do a work in me as I pray for His work in my child.
There is a blessing inside the struggle.
There is a great blessing in the stripping off of independence and the putting on of dependence. Parenting a challenging child is a humbling reminder that all my talents and capabilities are nothing without God. Struggles turn my eyes toward Him, recognizing my complete dependence upon Him to do what only He can replace stubborn hearts with obedient ones—in my children and in me.
from the archives, May 12, 2016