When I feel defeated in my parenting…

I recently went on a band field trip with my 7th grade daughter. I was looking forward to supporting her and spending the day with her. Middle school girls, however, are complex creatures. There’s a whole lot going on in that 12-year old body, with thoughts and feelings that she doesn’t understand. I knew my daughter wasn’t thrilled that I was going with her, but it wasn’t until I was stuck on the bus with her that I realized how much she really didn’t want me there. Her actions clearly said that she was not comfortable with my presence. She just wasn’t herself. She was distant and impolite, not just to me, but to another mother and daughter as well. My child was a stranger, and as a parent I just felt defeated.

I felt like everything she had been taught was gone. The child that I generally have a great relationship with was gone. She had been replaced by this person who didn’t act the way she’d been taught to act. She had been replaced by someone who didn’t want anything to do with me.

After the trip I cried and prayed, and by the time my daughter came home from school I was almost ready to talk to her. She walked in the door and started chatting just like her usual self. And just like that she was back – the child that I know. She didn’t understand why I was crying. “What’s wrong, Mom?” she asked.

What’s wrong is that I feel like a failure. I don’t understand how my daughter could push me away all day and then think everything is fine. I just want our usual relationship back. I’m tired and overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do, and I feel defeated.

Choosing to Love

And then I remember how much I love this child.

I look at her and remember how God has loved me through my own growing and changing. He loved me even when I didn’t understand what I was doing. He showed me grace even when my actions said  “I don’t want You here.”

I choose to love my daughter the way that God has loved me. I put aside my hurt and disappointment…and I forgive.

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15

I remind my daughter of who God created her to be. I remind her of what her actions should be. Settling for less is not an option, and I will not give up on her. I love her too much.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

I let her know that while her actions disappointed me, I still love her and always will. For that is exactly what God has done for me. He has shown His love to me again and again, even when I ignored Him and pushed Him away.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

 The Perfect Example

My children will never be perfect, and I will never be a perfect parent. It’s not my job to be perfect. It’s my job to love and guide my children even when they don’t want my presence and guidance. My job is to constantly remind them of who God created them to be – with the same grace and patience that’s been shown to me.

When I feel defeated as a parent, I will not give up. I will follow the perfect example set by my heavenly Father.

I will love my children anyway.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

Running through the Rain

Autumn’s goal last week was to run a mile without stopping. When we set out on our favorite path after school the weather was pretty nice. It was about 70 degrees and a little cloudy. Autumn asked me if I thought it was going to rain. I told her that it might, but that we would be fine. Sure enough, about half way through our run, it started to rain. That little trooper just pushed on through and kept going. When we finished, we came to the end of a road and turned a corner. When we turned, we saw the most beautiful rainbow right in front of us!

It was a really nice moment. The rainbow was a striking sight, and I truly felt God’s presence right there with us. Autumn said “I don’t even care that you made me run in the rain.” (You would have to know my Autumn to know how precious that statement was!)

We completely forgot about the run that we had just completed and instead started talking about God’s promises. Rainbows always remind me of the first rainbow, and the promise that God made to Noah in Genesis 9:9-17. They remind me that God always keeps His promises. Always. He is faithful to us and will not disappoint.

My Favorite Promises

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Matthew 7:7-8

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9

In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.  2 Timothy 4:8

For He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”  Hebrews 13:5

These are verses that keep me running when I feel discouraged. They remind me not to give up and that I am not alone. They remind me to keep seeking and to keep doing good. When it’s raining and I want to quit running, these verses remind me of my goal. They remind me of God’s promises and His presence. He has not left me alone and He will keep His promises.

After the Rain

If we want to receive God’s promises, then we can’t let the rain stop us. Yes, it will rain. And, no, it’s not always fun to run in the rain. The rain gets in your eyes, which makes it hard to see. It makes the road slippery, so that you have to be very careful that you don’t fall. And let’s face it, it’s just not comfortable to be soaking wet. However, the reward is worth it. God’s promises are worth it. So, keep on running. If we don’t give up, there is a beautiful rainbow waiting for us at the end.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; Hebrews 10:23

Too Busy to Be Hungry

“So when is lunch again?”

“When we get home from running all of our errands.”

“When will that be?”

“Whenever we’re done.”

“Well how many more things do we have to do?”

“We have to go get a new litter box next.”

“And then lunch?”

“No, then we’re going on our walk, remember?”

“Oh yeah. Well, what time is it now? I’m just used to eating lunch early.”

This is how the conversation went with my ten-year-old son, Logan, while out running errands. It was just my younger two children and myself, and it was getting pretty close to lunch time. I was actually hungry, too, to be honest. Logan wasn’t really complaining. He was just hungry, and his mind needed to know exactly when that hunger would be abated.

Time for a Walk

As planned, the last thing on our schedule before lunch that day was a walk down at our favorite park. We took the path that leads down to the beach, and I sat on a bench looking out over the water while the kids played in the sand. They were having a grand old time walking across an old log like it was a balance beam, pushing each other off and so on. We stayed down at the beach 20 minutes or so, and in all the time of walking, sitting and playing, do you know what was never mentioned?


That’s right. Logan had forgotten all about being hungry. He was too busy having fun. That’s natural. I know I can go much longer without eating when I’m busy. I think most of us are that way.

The Importance of Hunger

Hunger is actually a good thing, of course. It reminds us that our bodies need something to keep going. That busyness won’t hold the need off forever. At some point, we will find ourselves weak or cranky because we need to eat. (This happens to me more often than it probably should!)

God created our physical bodies with the need and desire for food, and he created our spiritual bodies the same way. Our souls need the nourishment that only God can provide. He created us to hunger for Him.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6

When we get too busy that we forget to eat spiritually, we might also find ourselves weak and a bit cranky. That’s our soul’s way of saying “Hello? You have been ignoring me for too long. Feed me, please!”

Too Busy to be Hungry

It’s so, so easy in this world to become too busy to be hungry. Our lives are so busy. It takes diligence to constantly push things aside and take the time to sit and actually feel hungry. I mean, every week we fight this at our house, trying to find the right balance. We all have things we enjoy and want to be a part of, but we just can’t do everything. Sometimes, we have to say no and push things aside. We can’t push everything aside, of course. We have to work, buy groceries, go to school, do laundry, and so on. But, honestly, a lot of what we spend our time on we can do without. Those things may be fun, but if we stay too busy to ever feed our souls….then we starve. We die. It’s just not worth it.

When we stop long enough to feel hungry, we’ll be just like my son, trying to find out exactly how and when that hunger will be satisfied. God promises to satisfy our hunger abundantly. We just have to take the time to realize how much we need to be fed.

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.  Isaiah 55:2