A good friend of mine just adopted a new baby boy. Looking at his tiny face has brought back a flood of memories from when I started my own parenting journey almost 18 years ago. What makes it especially bittersweet is the fact that my oldest will be graduating from high school in a few short months.
As I watch my friend navigate going from a wife to a mom, I am reminded of how different I am since I started my own parenting journey so long ago.
Unlike many young women, I never dreamed of motherhood, and I am not terribly maternal by nature. I love my boys fiercely, but at the same time, motherhood was never my ultimate dream. I wanted adventures and travel and excitement and fame. Yes, I admit it – I daydreamed about being interviewed on Oprah for my bestselling novel and about speaking in front of vast audiences to thunderous applause.
Instead, what I got was a small town, diapers and something way harder yet more beautiful than becoming famous – being a mom. The thing is, I’m glad God didn’t hand me the dreams that I fantasized over because I needed the refining that came with motherhood.
God had a lot of work to do in my heart and mind. He had to rub away the pride and the selfishness and the idea that the world revolved around me and what I wanted and needed. (not that I don’t still struggle with those things sometimes).
So, He made me a mother.
Maybe this isn’t true for you, but I feel like my kids have taught me way more than I have taught them. (well, besides the whole potty thing).
Children have a way of exposing all of our rough spots and the areas where self reigns supreme. They have a way of pushing you way outside your comfort zone (cleaning up vomit anyone?).They have a way of taking you down to the raw and the real in a way nothing else does.
I’ve been attending church since my own parents brought me home at a month old. I’ve gone to a Christian school and then a Christian college. I’ve served in church from the nursery to AWANA to a women’s Sunday School class to the women’s ministry committee. I’ve attended numerous conferences and read, quite literally, hundreds of books on the Christian life and faith.
But with the exception of the times spent one-on-one with Jesus, nothing has changed me more than being a parent.
Want to learn about selflessness? Parent a newborn.
Want to learn about humility and self-control? Parent a toddler.
Want to learn about patience? Parent a preschooler with their endless questions.
Want to learn about joy and contentment in the mundane? Parent a grade-schooler.
Want to learn about trusting God more? Parent a teenager.
In every phase of my children’s lives, God has taught me something about myself (usually something I really didn’t want to know), and He has continued to rub those rough edges off.
In the past, I haven’t really written much about parenting. Sure, I’ve shared some milestones my kids have hit or something deeply meaningful that God has taught me, but overall, on this subject I’ve been pretty quiet. The reason for that is mostly I wanted to respect my kids’ privacy. After all, this is my blog and just because I want to share my life with the world, that doesn’t mean they necessarily do, too.
But as a new season is now within sight (just three short years until my youngest graduates), I feel the time is right to do a write a little more about parenting. I also have a good friend who just wrote a book I think should be in the hands of every new (and not so new) mom, called Triggers: Exchanging Angry Responses for Gentle Biblical Responses.
So, in honor of these two big things, I am writing this series on parenting. I’m also inviting you to join me for The Parenting Challenge, because I can always use a little more accountability in my parenting. How about you? You can check out The Parenting Challenge here.
And stay tuned because I plan on having a give away for a few of my favorite parenting books – including Triggers.
I’d love to hear how parenting has changed you!
p.s. This is the first post in my parenting series. Below are the links to parts 2 through 4 and to a few other posts I’ve written in the past about parenting that I thought you might enjoy.
Part 2: 9 Principles of Parenting That Transcend Parenting Style
Part 3: 10 Myths of Parenting
Part 4: 5 Parenting Books I Love, Plus One
Is God Enough for Your Kids, Too?
There Are No Guarantees in Parenting
Disclaimer – this post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links mean that if you click on the link and purchase something, I get a small percentage of the purchase price. It does not add to your cost at all. 🙂