I once read a book on humility where the author quickly acknowledged being uncomfortable writing on that topic. That’s exactly how I feel with this one. Me writing about parenting feels like the bank robber writing about saving money. It doesn’t make sense if you follow my every parenting move. I’m quick to get the last word, quick to try to control a situation, quick to be selfish with my time, and quick to raise my voice in anger. Yet I’m slow to serve, slow to apologize, slow to pray for God to move, and slow to get off the floor when playing with Legos. (Okay, that’s just because my joints hurt from getting old, but you get the point.)
I’m not a perfect parent, but I know I’m not alone in that. Now, that doesn’t make it any better, but it does put us all at the same level: humbled and needing help. Whether you’re dealing with a sleepless newborn, a teenager wanting to become his or her own individual, or anything else in between, we all can admit that PARENTING IS HARD. That difficulty can often create feelings of inadequacy and inability.
The world tells us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, get it together, read more parenting books, listen to a parenting podcast, and remind ourselves that we can do hard things. The world’s solution to one of the most difficult responsibilities in all of life is to become a better individual.
The Bible says the opposite: you’re not strong enough to pull yourself up. You’ll never have it all together. More education and knowledge aren’t the answers, and you don’t have the ability to do the hard things. The Bible humbles us as sinners and shows us our need for a Savior.
You’re not strong enough to endure, but God’s grace is sufficient—you won’t have it all together, but Christ holds all things together. You can’t gain all the answers, but Christ is sovereign over all. You can’t simply do the hard things, but Christ endured all the way to death.
Gospel-centered parenting reminds us of our inability and Christ’s ability. It humbles us, takes the pressure off of us to be perfect, and reminds us that we need Jesus to sustain us daily as imperfect parents and not just save us when we were dead in our sins and trespasses.
Parenting magnifies our sinfulness. The gospel magnifies God’s grace in the midst of our sinfulness. Next time you feel inadequate and helpless as a parent, remember that you are, apart from Christ. When your children seem to make you lose your mind, remember God’s grace in your life and look to extend that to your children. When you want your kids to change, remember God’s kindness that led you to your repentance...not you being scared of his wrath. When there’s a battle between you and your child, remember God’s love was put on display for sinners when Christ died...not by proving his dominance.
If you’re a parent, God blessed you with a child. That blessing may feel like a burden sometimes. That burden may be completely overwhelming. When you’re at that point, remember that you can’t do it, but God can. That’s the beauty of the gospel.