Life as a parent can seem a lot like steering a boat. Can you relate?
When my husband and I were first married, I might describe our Life’s boat like a “gondola”. It was a smooth and gentle ride across the water to see exquisite sites. We enjoyed date nights, dreaming together and years of feeling on top of the world.
When we had children, we traded in our small gondola for a tug boat, aka a rockin’ minivan! We needed to be able to accompany more people. Through that trade-in, God was stripping us of things we thought were important.
During those years, God had begun to prepare our hearts emotionally and spiritually for children. With each child that was brought into our family, we matured. I feel more confident with four kids than I did with my first. While it might sound strange, some things are much easier now.
If you’re still in the early stages with your first or second child and you’re asking yourself how you could ever have more, because you’re feeling so overwhelmed right now, I understand. I felt that way too! Each time we added a child to our family, God grew me and stretched me some more… and if anyone tells you that stretching is fun, they are lying. See, we would need a “stronger boat” to deal with the much larger waves that would crash against us. Parenting is tough work!
If you’re a parent, you know what I mean when I say that some days I just feel desperate. I’m desperately pleading for help, answers, and guidance. I’m doing the best I know how, but I’m left feeling like I didn’t do enough.
God has made it clear to me through scripture that I’m not actually the captain of my ship; He is. So, how else will I get through the rough waters that lie ahead? Discipline issues? The irritation that comes from children fighting with one another? The doubts that come with hoping I did the “right thing”? How do I talk to my kids about important issues like salvation, my faith, and why we choose to live for Christ? How do I navigate through difficult friendships and broken hearts?
The water is rough in parenting and it seems new waves crash daily. If it’s not other people causing the waves, it’s the battle raging in our minds for what we coulda or shoulda done. We spend days in self-doubt and regret. “If I had only…” rocks us to sleep like crashing waves against our rotting boat.
That’s why we need the Lord! We’ll make a mess of this life on our own. I’ll crash my boat into every iceberg awaiting me in the frigid waters unless He gives me direction, and unfortunately, I’ll take others down with me. I need wisdom from the only One who can truly give it.
The good news is that as a follower of Jesus, you’ve not been left here alone. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you a helper”. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to guide and direct and even correct. When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit indwells you. You are no longer left to navigate alone. Call on him!
In the quiet of the night, in the illnesses that often ravage our homes, in the questions you have about what to do, your Comforter is there, waiting to be your anchor when life’s waves crash against you. Seek him and you will find him!
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.