When Parenting is Hard

I stand in her room and gaze on this child, so innocent and beautiful in sleep. And the tears gather in the corners of my eyes as I feel every wrong decision and failure as a mom. I love this child more than life itself, but I stand there and I wonder when giggles and tea parties were replaced with power struggles and frustration. When did wonder give way to 9-year-old cynicism? When did this parenting thing get so hard?

I stand and I pray, and I ask God why He ever thought I was equipped to parent this child. I watch her sleep and wonder what happened to my curly-headed imp with the laugh that simply forced you to laugh with her. When did she turn into this strong-willed, frustrating tween, and what am I supposed to do with her?

I look at my past decisions, and I feel the weight of every single one. Did we do the right thing? Did we make the right choices? What could we have done differently? Will it always be this hard?

I know you've stood there, too. At some point, every mom wonders, "Why did you choose me for this child, God?" When our patience is gone, when we feel like we're fighting the same battle over and over and over and over again, when we want to throw up our hands and walk out the door, those are the moments when God steps in. Those are the moments when He whispers, "I chose you because you are perfect for this child. I don't expect you to do it alone. I'm here."

Many times, the choices we have to make for our kids aren't easy. They aren't clear-cut. There's plenty of room for second-guessing. And sometimes we choose wrong. We make a decision that doesn't yield the rewards we thought it would. We find ourselves standing in a dark room wondering what we could have done differently as we gaze on our precious child.

But in those moments, the hope is this: We aren't raising these kids alone. I'm not smart enough, strong enough, or patient enough to handle all my daughters throw at me. But God is. He is our strength, our comfort and our hope. He is the One who will see us through even when parenting these precious gifts from Him gets so much harder than we ever thought it would be. He loves the child in that bed so much more than I ever could, and He holds her in His hand.

And He holds her mom in His hand, too. Psalm 56:8 says God collects our tears in a bottle. Every tear I've shed over these children of mine, God has seen and He has kept. He knows my heart. He knows how much I love them. He knows every hope and fear I have for them. And He is in control -- even when I am not.

So, dear moms, if you're struggling with a child today, if you're wondering why God ever chose you to be your child's mom, know this: You are not alone. God is at your side. He's got your back. Rest in His love and strength and let Him remind you how much He loves both you and your child. Because He loves you both more than you can begin to imagine, and His love is enough -- even when parenting is hard.