When I think of parenting in regard to this verse, I definitely think of the third piece—walk humbly with God. If there is any part of my life that regularly (daily) humbles me, then it’s parenting. It’s a daily reminder that no matter how hard I work or how smart I am, I am imperfect, sometimes incapable, and sometimes ignorant. I HATE being incapable and ignorant. I PRIDE myself on being capable, competent, and intelligent. (I think the Bible, Shakespeare, and a host of others have something to say about pride…)
But parenting reminds me that I cannot do it all. I cannot be the high-functioning (over-functioning) employee I want to be AND do all the art, gardening, and baking projects I want to do with my kids AND lavish creative gifts on my son’s teachers AND do play dates AND be a hot 31-year-old mom AND cook delicious, creative meals AND be an encouraging, intentional wife AND well …forget cleaning my house.
And I definitely don’t know it all. I can tell you a good bit about a lot of things—Romantic British poetry, Victorian British novels, Antebellum American history, pastoral care, teaching teenagers, teenage development and psychology, the book of Philippians, etc. Notice parenting is not on that list, especially parenting toddlers and preschoolers. Give me a teenager, and I have a clue. Maybe I could just switch kids with all those parents who love little ones and are terrified of teenagers.
I need a dose of humility every now and then. Before I had kids, I sometimes heard that I seemed untouchable, that it was hard for people to relate to me. Parenting shows me and everyone within eye or ear shot that I’m sooooo far from perfect. I think I’m more real to people now, and that’s good.
There’s so much more I could say about this verse and parenting. Think how many times in each day we parents try to do justly, or what’s fair: It’s your turn to pick the DVD. It’s not your turn to push the elevator button. Can you ask nicely if she’ll share that “’ceratops” with you? Can he play with it for two minutes? Ugh! The pursuit of doing what is just and fair is unending. When they get older it will be issues of who gets to drive the car, who has to pay for gas, when he can start dating, when she can start dating (Lord, help us! I’ve got payback headed my way!).
I may be incompetent, incapable, and ignorant. But I hope that I’m showing my kids what justice looks like in the way I treat them and make them treat each other. I hope they see a mom who is humble enough to admit when she’s wrong, or doesn’t know, or can’t do it all.
Since I (Angie) preached the sermon on Psalm 51:10, I invited a friend to do the blog. Sorry I’m a little late posting this:
Hi! My name is Holly Wright. I have three children ages 6, 4, and 2 1/2. Angie and Beth’s blogs are essentials to my morning coffee reading. Topping the list next to my Facebook news feed and people magazine! As I was reading some of the first posts they asked the question, “what would you like to talk about on this blog?” I opened the comment box and wrote a few words. My fingers froze over the keyboard and fell to the ‘delete’ key. Am I ready to admit to a ‘room’ full of strangers that I too often lose my patience with my kids? Do I really want to ask for support and advice on the web? I’m happy to chat about it with my girlfriends or complain to my husband but to authentically own it in front of people who aren’t going to love me anyway was scary. I chickened out. Then I prayed. I told God that I hoped Angie and Beth would discuss how they get through day to day stresses without yelling. At church the very next Sunday Angie taught a beautiful, heartfelt, easy to follow, well put together lesson on Psalm 51:10. I know I am not the only one who felt as if she and God were speaking directly to me. I’m a Leo, it’s always about me! ;-D
“Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
So I started praying it and praying it and praying it and praying it. Now talking honestly with God is not a place where I struggle. I consider us BF and I am pretty sure every now and then he gets tired of hearing me talk endlessly. He loves me anyway. Always. I do struggle with having a gentle and kind attitude, reading my bible, and being patient with my husband and my kids (and many, many other things!). He loves me anyway. Always.
I went on with the rest of my day business as usual. The next day was Monday. I decided to meet some friends at the playground to ride bikes. We stayed in bed snuggling too long and got a little behind schedule. Anytime it starts to look like we are going to be late I start to feel stressed. These are always the times when I lose my patience. That was true for this particular Monday morning. I had extra things to pack like lunch and bikes and I was not behaving like the kind of parent that I want to be. I stopped and prayed my Psalm 51:10 prayer. We pulled ourselves together and headed out on our adventure. I kept praying ‘my’ prayer.
We were on 288 when the traffic slowed to a crawl and then to a stop. I saw lots of smoke and at least 20 rescue vehicles. We weren’t going anywhere for a loooong time. Parked on 288, we sat for AN HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES. Three small children stuck in a parked vehicle for over an hour when they thought we were going to the playground?? No, it’s not pretty. It’s a fast track ticket to meltdown city! I was amazed at how calm and unrattled I was! There was absolutely nothing I could do. When I almost worked up the nerve to drive through the grassy median and turn around along came two police cars, so I stayed put. We prayed for the people involved in the accident and thanked God we were safe. I was thankful to have plenty of gas in my car and even a cooler full of food! We talked about safe driving, and traffic, and how fire and policemen keep us safe and sang MANY of our favorite songs.
And here is the crazy thing—–IT WAS REAL. I wasn’t putting on a brave/happy/calm/not aggravated face for the kids. I was really ok. Even when they whined and complained and cried, I was cool as a cucumber. The truth is it doesn’t work every time (especially if I forget to pray!) but many, many moments in my life have been changed over the past week due to this verse and Angie’s teaching. When I am aggravated at my husband, when my darling children are acting like animals, when dinner turns out gross, and when company is set to arrive in 30 minutes (at the same time that my sweeties need a bath and to be put to bed) and Lin calls to say he won’t be home for an hour because he is caught in traffic, Psalm 51:10 works. God works. Prayer works. My heart is one step closer to pure and my spirit headed for steadfast…..for now. 😉 Thanks for letting me share my experience.