Parenting Is Not My Spiritual Gift

Parenting is, by far, the toughest job there is. Not only are you developing a relationship with your child, but you’re teaching them, protecting them, instructing, disciplining, holding them accountable, cleaning up after them, cleaning them, cleaning yourself because of them, kissing boo-boos, playing with imaginary toys in imaginary castles, feeding them, loving them, investing in them….and then it’s time to think about lunch, and how you’re going to spend the rest of the day with your kids.

It’s exhausting. And rewarding. And not at all my gift.

Parenting Is Not My

To be clear, parenting isn’t listed in the Bible as a spiritual gift. But it is a holy assignment, and does come more naturally to some than others. I am not a natural-born parent.

I’m not a bad parent, and I’ve sworn off wearing that hat or beating myself up for not being the Pinterest mom of the year. I love my kids, love spending time with them, and am so very thankful God chose me to be their mama. I also get pretty short with them, have a hard time being hung on constantly, and the less me-time I have, the more I require to recharge.

There was a time when being a mother was nowhere on my radar. I was far too selfish, too independent, and too comfortable to imagine having everything in my life (and my home) turned completely upside down by having a child or three.

Seven years into our marriage, I birthed Little Miss. Our lives have since become a happy “little mess”.

Little Miss was essentially the perfect child. She was content, happy, playful, adorable, and thrived on her own routine. She wanted to be rocked and snuggled, she rarely fussed, she was rarely sick, and she was an awesome traveler on long road trips to see family.

This also instilled in me the false perception that because she was such an amazing kid, I – obviously – was an amazing mother.

After we lost Harlynn, life as I knew it came crashing down around me. My perception was changed, my priorities changed, and I knew the aches and pains of motherhood on a level no one should ever have to experience. I was able to mother her for 37 all-too-short weeks, and she changed my life. I now parent beyond the grave, honoring her memory – and her life – at every opportunity. I’ve tasked myself with ensuring she remains a tangible part of our lives, and of our family.

After we buried our daughter, I no longer believed at all I was an amazing mother. What kind of mother lets her own body betray her? What kind of mother lets her child die within her womb? Shouldn’t I have known something? Shouldn’t I have been able to stop it? Done something differently? Kept her alive? I couldn’t even bring a full-term child into the world. My mothering failed before it ever began.

I’m still recovering from that betrayal. I still struggle with all that losing her robbed me of. I no longer operate under the false pretense anything I did as a human being led me to being an amazing mom. If my kids turn out, it’s because of God’s grace.

I’m not amazing. But the miracle of life sure is. The fact that I get to be a parent at all….is pretty amazing.

Little Man arrived after a hellaciously agonizing pregnancy. We nearly lost him as well, and five weeks premature, he was delivered in to life and safety.

He is now comprised of brute strength. He climbs over – or through – whatever blocks his way. He refuses sleep. He eats more than I do. He loves to wrestle. He’s very physical, very active, and very tough. He uses his head to plow through most obstacles, and is totally unfazed by it. This whole boy-raising thing is totally foreign to me.

Some days I feel completely incompetent. Parenting is more than loving my kids. It’s raising them to do right. Be right. Choose right. It’s helping them discover their individual meaning in life. Keeping them from eating power cords. (Little Man!) Answering their tough questions.

I want to make memories for them other than me losing my cool, or speaking at them through gritted teeth or raised voice. I want them to believe me when I tell them, “I love you”, no matter how tough I have to love them at times. I want them to know I’m doing my best, but my best is only because I have to work really hard at it – not because it comes naturally to me.

Parenting isn’t my spiritual gift. But it IS a gift I’m able to parent at all. It’s something I don’t take lightly. And on days I’d rather put my head in the sand or find an easy button, I have to turn to the ultimate parent: the Father who created it all in the first place.

Start children off on the way they