On any given day, I can click on social media and view a barrage of opinions, views, don’t-do-this, and how-you-shoulds. Like, an overwhelming amount of them. Particularly in the arena of parenting. And I’m the sort of gal who likes to be well-informed on certain things and I like to read, so no problem, right? Except that it’s gotten to the point that I want to Phoebe-run (I’m sorry if you’re too youthful to get this), screaming into the wilderness. Maybe more like my inner rebel just wants to wave my middle finger in the air with great gusto at all the thoughts.
So, here’s another post full of my thoughts and opinions on all those other thoughts and opinions weighing me down! Bahahaha. Let me recount all the messages I’ve noticed lately.
- Do not use the spray sunscreen or your kids might die of skin cancer.
- DO NOT EAT GRAINS. NONE. Gluten is killing us all.
- Do not look at your smartphone in the presence of your children. Only look at them, directly in the eyes. Be attentive to every burning question and desire of their hearts.
- Rear-face your child in their carseat until age 15. If they’ll go for it. But at least until their knees start poking them in the face.
- Don’t vaccinate. Oh wait, yes, do vaccinate.
- You must sleep with your children in your bed, or they will be damaged for life. Definitely do not let them cry.
- Don’t give your kids antibiotics.
- Multivitamins might cause cancer.
- Don’t give kids Capri Sun drinks because they might be full of fungus. Or mold.
- Don’t let your kids go to slumber parties.
I could go on. I will say that I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with all of these ideas. And I do feel that it is important to educate yourself, be good stewards of the body God gave you, and just generally be smart and logical. But, really? The fear-mongering is just insane. It’s almost like someone is peering into the minds of parents and putting these things out to distract them from their purpose and keep them spinning in fear.
Did you know that you are a failure as a parent? So am I. Every single day. I can never and will never get ALL OF THE THINGS right. I am bound to say the wrong thing, feed them something that is bad for them, hurt their feelings, neglect them when I should be paying attention, introduce them to the wrong friend, choose the wrong form of discipline, take them to a place or activity where they will be injured, and forget to pack their lunch. And shoes. By virtue of the fallen, broken world we live in, this broken woman is perpetually screwing up her kids. And saving for their therapy, to ease her guilty conscience.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21
Years ago, when I worked in foster care, I saw the early years of our lives as being absolutely essential building blocks of a “good” life. I decided that these terrible biological families had destroyed the lives of these children forever. Damaged goods. Parents became the cause of all the good and bad in anyone’s life. I had no idea.
What I didn’t know was that my own sinful heart was right on par with all of those parents who had lost custody of their kids. Sometime after actually becoming a parent myself, I figured out that not only can we not control our children or the world in which they live, I can’t control my own ability not to make mistakes either. The world is jacked up and so are our kids, no matter if we feed them organic apples, avoid aspartame, forget their sunscreen, or buckle them incorrectly. (These are all things I have done. More than once. Always preaching to myself.) Bad things are going to happen. Does the catchphrase, “God Is In Control” only sound good on a coffee cup?
Then the LORD said to [Moses], “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” Exodus 4:11
But God promises to use those mistakes for our good and His glory. Pretty much every single day, I burn this Kingdom of One to the ground. I try my hardest to make it work but I can’t. But praise be to God — He is in the business of making beauty rise from those ashes. Redemption is simply what He is all about. All the hurts, broken pieces, losses, disappointments, triumphs, tragedies, trials, and melted hearts weave a magnificent picture of our Heavenly Father doing what he does best. Making all the broken things new and whole and perfect, to the Glory of His Name.
Why do we all believe that ours is the right way of doing things and that everyone else should follow suit? Every time we see a mom struggling with fear or control, let’s reach out and encourage her. You’re doing a great job, Mom. God gave these specific kids to you because He wants you to parent them, shortcomings and all, as a part of His great story. It’s so much easier and more fun when we’re all in this together. Maybe, if we can extend grace lavishly to others in their inadequacies, we can begin to find a way to extend a little grace to ourselves as well. I am praying so. I really do believe that most of us are doing the best we can with what we’re given.
Parenting isn’t my favorite topic, primarily because I feel woefully inadequate about it most days. Can we just do this? Feed them. Clean them. Put them to bed. Educate them. Preach the Gospel as often as possible. Pray. Hug. Say, “I love you.”
In closing, what’s wrong with organic apples? Nothing, really. Yep, there are some in my fridge. I love me some organic. I just have to stop and do a heart check sometimes. What is it that those apples are promising me?
And, for the love, let’s stop telling everyone how/how not to do everything. Peace be with you.
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. Proverbs 16:33