This Parenting Thing

“What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger,” I heard the doctor answer my 12 year old after he had confessed his frustrations over his looming dental issues.  “Are you kidding me?” I wanted to scream.  “My child has been enduring teasing and laughter for the past two years because he has no front teeth and that is all you have to offer!”  I opened my mouth to berate this seemingly uncaring orthodontist then I paused as I saw my son’s chin begin to tremble and his eyes well up with tears.  Luckily, my inability to hold back my own tears at the sight of another’s is a source of enjoyment for my son.  For my tears caused his laughter.  His laughter caused mine and my desire to lash out at a well-meaning doctor was extinguished.  I may have left the orthodontist’s office that day emotionally exhausted but I left with a resolution to my child’s issues because I was able to keep my cool.

There are times when I would do anything to ease the pain of one of my children, to protect him from the hurt that others may cause him and to somehow make all of his problems disappear.  Then there are times when the reality of being a parent knocks me to my knees and I realize that I cannot always stop the pain.  It is in those times that I begin to appreciate the strength and wisdom of my own mom and dad.  I begin to know the anguish they must have experienced when I returned home with tears streaming down my face after enduring a school bus ride filled with name calling, teasing, and taunting.  Though my mother knew that a warm hug and consoling words could bandage an emotional wound, she also knew that no amount of words could reverse the hurt or erase the memories.  I only wish I had my mother’’s strength!

As a child born with a physical challenge, my pain in life was inevitable.  My parents well understood the load I had to bear and the world in which I had to bear it.  Yet they could not relieve me of that load nor could they shelter me from the world.  In all of their God-given wisdom, my parents knew that they must send me out into the world to experience all that it had to offer, including the suffering and sadness.  Now, with countless tears, sorrowful memories and emotional battles under my belt, I find myself in the shoes of my parents, searching for the right words to say to my crying child, the wisdom to know when to rush in and save and the strength to stand back while he struggles with his own burdens.

I wonder how our Heavenly Father did it.  He knew his Son would suffer.  He knew his Son would be ridiculed and hated.  He knew his Son would be tortured and put to death.  Yet this Father sent his only Son into a dark world to carry the load of our sin and bear a cross meant for each one of us.  Yes, He is God, but I do wonder…… did He cringe each time his child fell and scraped a knee?  Did He smile when his Son built his first table in Joseph’’s workshop?  Was He bursting with pride as He watched Jesus being baptized in the Jordan?  Did He weep as His Son cried out to Him, “Let this cup pass from me”?  Did it take everything within him to keep from rescuing his Son from death on the cross?

There are times when I find myself facing a parental crisis.  I feel overwhelmed and often useless.  But I can find peace in knowing that I do not have to face these situations alone.  My Heavenly Father knows all about this parenting thing and He is always right beside me surrounding me with his strong and loving arms so I may have the strength to surround my children with mine.

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