Sunday, June 1, 2008

Deal of a Life-Time

“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?
Diane Markins

9 comments:

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shannon said...

I agree, parenting is one of the most challenging and trying times one can go through. When we made the decision to have our children I had no idea what was in store for me. I was prepared for sleepless nights and additional financial responsibility but I was not prepared for the multitude of decisions that must made on a daily basis to insure my child’s success. Everything from their education to outside influences, are all my responsibility while they are young. Not a day goes by that I don’t question my decisions for them and pray for direction in my decision making process. I love being a Mom. My kids are the most important things in my life. I pray that my decisions will guide them in a path of righteousness and that they too may grow up to make favorable decisions for themselves.

Brad Markins said...

It's sad when you hear parents say things about how little Johnny "can do anything he wants when he's 18" . Your'e right it's a life long job.

HisGirl said...

Shannon, by the way you describe loving your kids it is apparent you signed up for the full duration. They are fortunate indeed!

Judy said...

In my experienc, parenting is a journey of responsibility which is appointed by our God who trusted us with His precious gifts to be faithful to train them up in the way they should go. This equates to imparting, by example, spiritual values, ethics, manners, integrity,and respect and wisely encouraging them in the areas of their individual giftedness.

In my opinion, Betsy Hart, author of It Takes A Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parents Is Hurting Our Kids--and What to Do About It, has expressed that it is never to late to begin new parenting behavior. Her challenge:
"Parents cannot determine good outcomes for their children. What we can determine is whether we will persevere to do the best of our ability in training and guiding them toward the right end..
..our perseverance is the best hope of seeing them reach a wholesome, productive adulthood."

We need to believe that God is sovereign in His plans and purposes for our children's lives and commit not to get in His way.

HisGirl said...

Judy, your words are right on target for me. I know I overstep sometimes and get in God's way of taking my kids to the place He wants them because I hat to see the how difficult the journey is. Thanks for the reminder.
Diane Markins

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! I married an "it ends at 18-er" and it has wreaked havoc on my son (his step-son), then a 12yo, bipolar boy, who is now 27. I've had to "start him up" many, many, many times against my ex's wishes. I allowed this man, a good man, but raised "hard," to influence my judgement in raising my son. It has been a grueling struggle, and it is the reason we divorced. I have had a hard time setting my priorities between my ex and my only child.

I was trying to stand by my husband first and I backed him up the best I could, but realized too many years later, that my priority is with my son first, and I was neglectful to allow the slandering and neglect of us both. Since the divorce, I have returned to the household to care for my son's daughter that he is unable to raise, and my son and his girlfriend have been allowed by my ex to move into a motorhome on our property. It is a relief, but lots of work. I support them all financially. We're a household full of mentally ill people, including me (bipolar)... I guess that's why we stick thru it... we understand what we are dealing with...

Your message was right on time this morning. God Bless you. Must run off to my co-dependent day!!! :-)
"Rose"

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! What timing.
God blessed me with 2 magnificent children that live with me on earth, and a little angle that He called home before we got to know.

A co-worker was just complaining about her 14 yr old daughter who is sleeping all day and does not really like to do what she is asked, in the way of chores. I forwarded this Devotional (from CBN.com) to her. Now it is up to her.
Thank you and God Bless.
--
Steve & Susie

Anonymous said...

At last I found someone who beleives parenting doesn't stop @ 18...
I have been searching for someone who thinks like me...both my own father, and the stepfather/father of my children seem to think that once the child turns 18 our responsibilities as parents are over...
I have a 33 year old, a 22 year old and an 11 year old. The older kids seem to need just as much financially as the 11 year old. I sometimes wonder how I am going to make all of this work, especially now that I am divorced. (again).
Thank you very much for a very uplifting article, it made my day!
Sincerely,
DD