Those of you who have followed this blog over the last year will know that parenting has served as a powerful teaching tool in my life. Yes, I am now pretty good at changing diapers and things of that nature, but my education goes beyond that. The Lord has used parenting in my life to confront me with my sin and to further my sanctification.
Every parent knows that raising a child (or multiples) is a whole new ballgame. Before baby is born into this world, we do the best we can to prepare ourselves, but we are never fully prepared for the challenges ahead. There are a lot of good parenting books out there, but they fall short of telling you everything you will need to know. We simply have to learn on the go and pray for the grace of God to flood our lives. There are times (all you Moms know this a lot better than me) where you get overwhelmed and your patience and perseverance is tested. What I am beginning to learn is that during these times we need to stop and say, “Lord, what are you trying to teach me?”
Let me give you one example that seems to come up again and again with my wife and I – the dishes. After a busy day at work, the last thing I want to do is the dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher). But what I so easily forget is that my wife just spent all day with the twins, has already done the dishes three times, and is exhausted. Even though I don’t want to do the dishes, as the “servant husband” (check out Ephesians 5:25-30), that is exactly what I should be doing. What the Lord is trying to teach me is that even though I don’t “feel” like doing the dishes, I should do them anyway. My wife and I are a team and this is one of the ways I can help. What usually ends up happening is that while I do the dishes, Stephane is either doing laundry, cleaning, or taking care of something else. When I pitch in and help, all the things that need to get done for the night – get done sooner. This means that we have more time for each other.
Another example from the school of parenting is more directly related to the girls. Elizabeth and Anna are now 15 months old and growing rapidly. This is a fun exciting stage (like all stages), but it also has opened the door for more misbehaving. This means that there is more of a need for discipline, something I am not very good at. Sometimes unfortunately, my disciplining takes the form of raising my voice and getting angry. As you know, this is not the best way of employing discipline, and there have been times where I have had to apologize to the girls. Although they are not quite at the stage where they can understand, I look forward to the day when I can explain to the girls that Daddy needs the grace and forgiveness of Jesus just like they do. This will take some humility on my part, but it will serve as a great teaching tool for my children. Even though I am in authority over my children, I am certainly not immune to sin and have a constant need for God’s grace. They need to know this.
I could share more examples of how I have come face to face with my own sin through being a Dad. I trust, however, that you are beginning to see how God can use parenting as a catalyst for growth in our lives. For my wife and I, the school of parenting is just getting started and there is still much to learn. I praise God for the amazing gift of children and for how God uses parenting to make us more like Christ.