The answer to parenting…

I tiptoe into my daughter’s room to check if she’s asleep. It’s been a long week and she’s had a lot on her plate. Twelve years old can be a tough age, I’m learning. There are new experiences, new decisions, new situations.

Quietly, I stand next to her bed and look at her–my little girl, asleep, her head resting sideways on her pillow.

My little girl who is not so little anymore.

I sigh, thinking about the high expectations she has of herself and how she tends to worry. I know I was the same way growing up–I still am sometimes.

Slowly, I sit on the edge of her bed and look around her room—at the pictures of her friends on her dresser, at the plaque on her wall that says Chase Your Dreams, at the pile of books on her desk.

As she gets older and faces new challenges, I find myself wanting to make things easier for her, wanting to solve any problems that come her way.

Lord, help me know how to encourage her, I whisper.

My eyes sting.

When she was younger, encouraging seemed easier. Whenever she was sad or worried, she and I would bake cookies or walk to the park, or play together. The worries were small and the distraction was easy. But now, as she navigates new life situations, things are more complicated. And I’m realizing more and more that I can’t fix everything. And that I shouldn’t always try to.

I sigh and she stirs, restless in her sleep. Gently, I reach for her hand and close my eyes…

God, Help me to be the mom she needs me to be…

Suddenly, I’m flooded with memories of how many times God has seen me in my restlessness or worry, how many times He has stood by my side, watching over me. Just like I’m doing now with my daughter. In all those times throughout my life, He breathed His Spirit of hope and encouragement into me simply through His love. His deep, endless love.

And that’s the answer.

When we’re feeling inadequate as parents, we simply need to love–to love our kids the way God has loved us.

We don’t need to have all the answers. We don’t need to fix everything right now. We just need to remember that He is in control. God has my daughter in His hands. He has her every thought, dream and hope cradled safely, softly, and securely in His mighty grasp. I don’t need to figure everything out. I just need to lean on Him, and help my daughter to do the same.

And the amazing thing is, as much as I love her, my love doesn’t compare to the love He has for her. Or the love He has for me.

The thought is almost overwhelming.

Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” -Jeremiah 31:3

“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” -Zephaniah 3:17

“You are precious to Him,” I whisper to my daughter, hoping that even in her sleep, her mind will register those words and cement them forever into her awareness. I squeeze her hand gently, then let go.

She stirs again, but this time she smiles.

Faintly, but she smiles.

And so do I.

5 Responses to The answer to parenting…
  1. Barbie
    July 26, 2011 | 1:00 am

    I loved this post Genny. I sometimes forget that God holds my childen in the palm of His hands and that He is more than capable of providing for all of their needs, desires, etc. The most important role I have as a mom is to love them and to show them God’s love.

    • Genny
      July 26, 2011 | 1:03 am

      I sometimes forget too! He so answered my prayer that night, reminding me of His love!

  2. Shanda Oakley
    July 26, 2011 | 1:21 am

    Beautiful post. It is so comforting to know God is in control and we need to reinforce that so often with our kids

  3. Michelle G
    July 26, 2011 | 9:54 am

    Thank you for this post! I have a 16 almost 17 year old daughter who is going through some tough life decisions and how I long for those younger days where just having Mom hold her for awhile did the job.

  4. Carol
    July 28, 2011 | 1:56 pm