I'm re-reading Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas. Already I'm getting more out of it that I missed the first time. Like Gary Thomas states, 'this is not a "how to" parenting book that teaches you how to discipline and raise your kids, but more like how God uses our kids to change us.'
I don't know about you but having children has changed me. It has definitely exposed some raw layers about myself that I never knew existed. And just to warn you, its not always a pleasant sight! Sometimes it's just easier to push it back down, below the surface. Pretend they do not exist. But God already knows. He said to give it ALL to Him. How can we give ourselves fully to the Lord? How can we give our children the best us possible? How can we navigate the mission field nay battlefield of parenting (and life in general!) if we're not willing to peel off the layers that hold us back? Sometimes it is our own selves that stand in the way of what is and what is meant to be. I know when I try and do it alone, I am harshly reminded that if I parent these children that God has so graciously gifted us, by myself, in my own strength, I will fail. Miserablely. I must FULLY rely on God! Only He can give me the strength I need to win the race. Realizing that raising children is a divine calling, a special mission specifically given to us, by God, motivates me to not just do it, but do it well. And with the right attitude.
So does that mean that we'll be the perfect parents? By no means. If perfection could be achieved then we wouldn't need a Savior. But this kind of reliance on God is what drives the "die to self" attitude and motivates us to pick up the pieces and try again and again.
There will be challenges everyday. Everyday the negative voices inside your head, the ones that provoke you to throw your hands in the air and admit defeat, will try and press its way through. But guess what? You don't have to wave the white flag! Hallelujah! We are more than conquers through Him who loves us! Rom. 8:37
When you wake in the morning, everyday, specifically pray that God will help you to be the parent/spouse/etc. you need to be. Ask God to reveal any "layers" that are getting in-between you and your relationship with God, your child, or your spouse and then pray for the will that it takes to peel them off, layer by layer, until what is left is a renewed spirit, ready to face the challenges that will come your way.
I like NLT translation of this verse Matthew 10:39 "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Apply it how you will, but this scripture speaks to me as a mother. When you become a mother, your life is no longer your own. Sacrifices are made. Some dreams might need to remain dreams so that we can remain focused on the truly pressing matters at hand. My hearts cry is to know 'no greater joy than to know my children are walking in the truth'. There is such a small window of time to impact children that I wouldn't want to miss out on teaching them the purpose of why they were ever loaned to me in the first place.