Both of my girls play defense in their respective sports. That means they don't get a lot of opportunities to score goals. It means they do a lot of the grunt work and don't get a lot of the glory.
A good defensive play may lead to a goal, but stopping a shot and clearing the puck or ball from your zone aren't plays that immediately result in raised arms and fist pumps. No one really notices the defense until they fail to their job. A lot of kids don't like to play defense because they don't get any of the glory.
But the truth is many good defensive plays will end up in a goal attempt for your team. If the defense is doing its job well, then the offense will get more opportunities to create the arm-raising, fist-pumping moments.
I think being a parent is a lot like playing defense. Most days there's not a lot of glory. Sometimes it seems like those arm-raising, fist-pumping moments are few and far between. The average day results in a lot of grunt work and not a lot of tangible results.
As parents, we love those moments when we watch our kids "get it." When they choose to be kind to another child, when they're respectful of adults, when they open their mouths and encouraging words come out. Those days are the equivalent of scoring a goal, when all that grunt work in the defensive zone pays off.
Most of the time, though, parenting feels as though we're backed into our own zone desperately struggling to clear the ball out of in front of our own net. There are a lot of days when I look to the heavens and ask, "Are they ever going to get it? What am I doing wrong?"
The answer to those questions is often "yes and nothing." Parenting is a long-haul battle. We emerge from it beaten and bruised, but hopefully victorious. Thankfully, though, we have a coach who appreciates all that grunt work. God knows the days can be long. He hears the sigh of relief we sometimes send up when everyone is finally tucked into bed for the night. And that's why He gives us the arm-raising, fist-pumping moments.
Oh, those moments might seem few and far between, but they are the result of your faithfulness as a parent. They are the result of you getting in the battle and persevering. They are the victorious moments in what can seem like a never-ending game.
But the best thing about those other moments, those in-the-trenches struggles for the hearts of our kids, is that we're not alone. God is right there with us, digging for the ball. No matter the struggle we're having as a parent, no matter how bleak the situation looks, God is there. Matthew 28:19 says "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
God is always with us. He's there in the moments of defeat, and He's got His arms raised high in the victorious ones. While we're struggling in the backfield, He's calling for the ball. And if we rely on Him, those days and years of parenting grunt work will become a high calling. They will become moments with purpose. Because all that work in the defensive end often results in arms raised in triumph, fist pumps, cheering and a dog pile on the goalie when the final score is in.
Linking up today with Time-Warp Wife.