When my husband and I first looked at our baby, the euphoric feelings of joy and tenderness were followed by the realization that neither of us knew how to change a diaper. We had a lot to learn. Three children and twenty-four years later, we are still learning. The joys and stresses of parenthood have mostly taught us humility. The job was too hard by ourselves. How could we know what was in our children’s hearts? And if we did catch a glimpse, how could we shepherd them? We needed God to teach us and give us wisdom in making decisions. The best parenting posture was laying our hearts and questions before the Lord. And God, in his own timing, has faithfully answered us.
God has used my kids to teach me patience and perseverance. There is nothing quite like an argument when one is cooking dinner (a popular time for disagreements) to put one in a bad mood. The proper response is to put down the utensils and lovingly deal with the issue at hand (often whose bouncy ball had the handle with a kink in it). Over time, I learned that God cared about my heart’s attitude while I was correcting theirs. I sometimes had to put myself in bed and ask God to fix my attitude and to help me lovingly teach them. He has always answered this for me.
God has used my kids to show me what is important in life. Little kids look up to their parents the way we should all look to God. They think their parents know everything, and they are full of questions. Their curiosity about the world is beautiful. Also, in serving my kids–providing for their needs and training them–I am learning to appreciate how God provides for me and trains me. He doesn’t give up on me even when I complain or don’t appreciate his provision, but he gently speaks and corrects. This correction helps me be more like Jesus. And at the end of the day, we should all curl up with our heavenly Father and tell him how much we love him.
My kids have also helped me see God’s power in answering prayer. One of my children has received a significant physical healing after years of prayer. My daughter suffered with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system) for over two years. At times, she could not walk without falling, even in public places. Her blood pressure would have wild fluctuations depending on what position her body was in. As a mother, I just wanted to cry. We saw so many different doctors, and finally a doctor at Vanderbilt diagnosed her. Yet there was not a treatment, just suggestions for things that might help. We tried those things; they didn’t help much. But one morning at a ladies’ retreat with my church, we prayed for her healing. God instantly healed her. Her blood pressure and ability to walk were completely restored in that instant. It’s been almost two years. Her faith has grown tremendously as she remembers where she was and what God has done. Sometimes God allows really hard things in life to help us appreciate the miraculous normal.
My kids have taught me so many things, even how to best teach them. We homeschooled our kids for fifteen years, which presents so many challenges. We have struggled and triumphed over reading, spelling, geography, book reports, etc. Through the abundance of time together, we have worked on everyone’s character (including mine). We have learned how to learn. I have discovered a love for teaching, and I have become a high school math teacher for homeschoolers in my area. One of my kids has graduated from grad school; another is a senior in college. My third is still in high school, but will be finishing soon. They all have different interests, but we are all close. A family is a blessing. Fifteen years ago when they were arguing over a toy, I could not have imagined how close they would be now, but God is good and faithful.