At the church where I work, we strongly believe that children and youth ministry is not just for children and youth, but also about equipping parents. At the top of our resource page online we simply have these words:
Parenting is Hard.
For years I have known this fact. I truly respect parents for all the hard work they do day in and day out trying to raise up children to be respected and respectful human beings, to give them a clear picture of their identity and purpose. (That’s not to mention the huge task of being the primary faith nurturer in their child, whether they want that role or not.)
Yes… Parenting is Hard.
There’s all the logistics of balancing all the activities and events, schedules and “who needs to be where, when.” There’s figuring out boundaries and figuring out how to, over the course of about 18 years, gradually give them more and more independence. There’s the practical struggles of the sleepless newborn months and the helping with homework when 5 x 5 somehow isn’t so easy as it just simply being 25 anymore.
The logistics and everyday “stuff” of parenting is hard.
But then there’s the heart stuff… the character building … the teaching a 2 year old “let’s learn how to share” that somehow, perhaps overnight it seems, turns into discussions about bullying and breakups, sex and suicide, driving cars and deciding on colleges.
Parenting is hard.
This is nothing new to me. As I said before, I completely recognized this fact and try to be the biggest cheerleader I can be for the parents I see around me… friends with kids, the parents of students in our ministries, strangers on the street. Nothing I’ve learned so far as an AFS mom (which has been a lot) has been things I didn’t already know on some level. However, I pray that as I experience some of these things first hand, I’ll be an even better cheerleader moving forward.
So parents out there, you’re doing a great job. Even when it feels like this is the craziest job you’ve ever had, even when you mess things up, even when you’re not sure how in the world to handle a situations… yep, even then, you’re doing awesome. Parenting is hard, but you’re not alone… look around you… MILLIONS of other people are doing it right alongside you. It may FEEL like you’re alone, but you’re not. Reach out, encourage each other, walk with each other. We need each other! And above all, lean into Jesus. He’s got energy when we’re weary, wisdom for the tough decisions, grace when we feel like we’ve messed, and love. Yea, he’s got a lot of love… an abundance actually. And he wants to pour it all over our lives so that we can pour it out into our children. Lean in, parenting may be hard, but it’s also amazing!