What a Difference a Year Makes

Year At this time last year, I was feeling like a pretty horrible parent. My younger daughter was struggling with some basic character issues and my older daughter still hadn't found her spot in middle school. It was a tough place to be.

We had two pretty unhappy children, and two bewildered and frustrated parents. My heart was heavy and burdened for both my kids. My husband and I were unsure of what path to take with each kid.

As you know, we decided the best thing for my younger daughter was a year of doing school at home. And despite her protests, we decided the best thing for my older daughter was a lot of love and to return to the middle school she attends.

We've spent an entire year deliberately working on character issues with both girls. We've spent a lot of time praying over these children and asking God for wisdom to parent them well.

There have been moments when I've wanted to throw up my hands and give up. There have been weeks when progress seems so very far away. There have been days when I've pushed, prodded, cajoled and done everything but scream.

We've offered advice. We've offered encouragement. We've prayed for patience just to make it through the day.

And here we sit a year later. Both girls have made huge strides in the way they deal with certain situations. My older daughter is a little more outgoing and a little less likely to let other people bother her. She's more confident in who she is and in who God says she is. My younger daughter is more sure of who God is and a lot more respectful of those around her. Neither girl has lost the qualities that make her unique, but both have grown and been stretched by the past year.

So, this morning, sweet friends, I want to offer encouragement to you. Know that there will be dark days of parenting. There will be days that you shed tears for your children until there are none left to shed. There will be moments when it seems the easiest choice is to throw up your hands and walk away.

But in the middle of those dark days, remember that God is there with you. He's walking beside you holding the light. If we seek Him out and follow His plan for our kids, we can walk through those dark periods and come out on the other side with our kids in a better place.

It may not be easy. It may require sacrifice. God might ask you and your child to step out of your comfort zones.

But if we follow God, we will find that His wisdom is always good. His steps are always sure. His plan will always prevail.

God didn't give us these kids to leave us to flounder through the tough moments. He gave us these precious souls to shepherd and love, knowing that He would be right there for the entire journey.

So, sweet mom, if your day is dark , if this parenting thing seems like more than you can manage today, know that you don't walk alone. God walks with you, offering comfort and wisdom. Choose to follow Him  and place your kids in His care. In a year, the whole picture may look different.