“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
~author, Elizabeth Stone
I once heard the parent of a 14-year-old boy say, “Only four more years ‘til I can quit worrying about my kid!” The sad thing about this particular parent is that he meant it and later proved it.
For the rest of us, being a parent is a life-long deal. The job description may change as time goes on, but the commitment, love and concern remain constant. Sometimes, especially for parents of “terrible” two-year-olds or even more terrible teenagers, this thought is not necessarily a pleasant one. We wonder, “Will this ever get better?” It can be exhausting and daunting.
But the alternative is much worse. Just ask Don and Roxanne who just attended the funeral of their precious son Tim. He valiantly battled cancer but finally lost at the age of 32. Do you think there was even a moment that they wouldn’t have given anything to trade for their time with a demanding toddler or trying teen (although he was apparently neither). Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. This kind of pain doesn’t make sense, but it happens.
Being someone’s mom or dad never ends. The joy you feel when celebrating their successes, the pain you feel when they have failures or losses and the intense heartache when they are ill or worse, when they die: these things are a part of the package. Forever.
If you have young children, draw on the strength and support of others to help give you stamina through this season. If you have teens that are testing every rule, boundary and request you make, stand firm. If you have adult children who are struggling, living apart from your will or in some kind of trouble, be strong and don’t give up.
For all parents, be reminded that God’s grace is sufficient and that nothing can separate your child from God’s love and care. (Romans 8:38-39) Let God’s grace fuel you to stay the course and continue to act with love and patience. There will come a time when things will get easier. Your energy will be back to normal and your every thought won’t be consumed with “When will this end?”
Keep in mind that some parents (like Don and Roxanne) would give anything to be in your shoes. Press on parents. You signed on for a life-time deal. Want to comment on your most challenging time as a parent?