My younger daughter played in a hockey tournament this weekend. Her team made it to the championship game. They were leading, but then the other team got three goals in a very short span of time. The goalie on my daughter's team was visibly upset and having a hard time getting his head back in the game.
When my daughter hit the ice for her next shift after the goals, she immediately headed for the goalie. She stood and talked to him, pointed at the scoreboard and talked some more. He went back to the goal and she went to her place on the ice. Her goalie stopped every shot that came his way after that and her team came back to win the game and the tournament.
After the game, I asked my daughter what she said to the goalie. "I just told him to look at the shot count on the scoreboard. He stopped a lot of shots and only let three in. I told him to focus on the ones he stopped. And I told him there was plenty of time left for us to win."
Wow. The wisdom of a 10-year-old. We could all apply some of that to our lives. As parents, it's easy to focus on our failures, on the missed teachable moments, on the days we lose our temper, on the situations we wish we'd handled better. But the truth is, there are a lot of days that we hit it on the head. There are a lot of days that we give our kids exactly what they need. A lot of days we stop every shot that comes our way.
It's human nature to focus on our mistakes, but if we let ourselves become defined by our mistakes, then we miss out on the true person God designed us to be. God didn't make you a parent to your child because He knew you were going to be perfect. He made you your child's parent because He knew that you were going to be the best parent for that child.
When we get stuck focusing on our mistakes, on the shots we didn't stop, we can get angry and frustrated with ourselves. We can get into a cycle where we continue to make the same mistakes. Sometimes we need someone else to calm us down and point us in the right direction. That someone is God. He tells us to cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). He tells us that He forgives us when we fail (1 John 1:9). We simply have to believe Him.
Believe me when I tell you that God doesn't care that you're not perfect. He knew that all along. He does care that when you miss a shot, you simply get back up, ask for forgiveness, and get ready for the next one. Because there's plenty of time left in the parenting game -- and you're going to stop more shots than you miss.