Messy Parenting

Our kids are messy, literally and figuratively, and so are we.

Life is so full of unexpecteds (my own word) – those things that cannot be anticipated or prepared for. They swoop in and surprise us, leaving our days completely out of sync and our nice orderly schedules shredded. The trickle down affect often hits our kids first…

Example; Arrive at work to find you have a new boss, new boss wants you to head up a committee for improving work force efficiency, the committee is mandatory and it’s first meeting will be at 6pm tonight. Better get cracking. Kids have frozen pizza and your spouse is left to their own devices to manage the household.  Those devotions you all committed to having are a long lost dream by the days end, after a week of surprises those devotions are forgotten and the carefully structured Christian parenting technique you planned to stick with… is now toast.

Life is messy, our plans rarely ever happen as expected and we can fret and fume and play guilt games with ourselves and each other all day, but the net affect is negative and painful for the over-scheduled parent.

What do we do?

Take comfort dear out-of-time one. Remember that parenting is more than a series of structured devotional moments, linked to a weekly sermon and properly hip & relevant youth Sunday school lesson. It’s more than a neat and tidy home framed with neat and tidy children who memorize scriptures and read the Lords prayer responsively on Que.

If you feel like your failing at that ideal… relax! Even if you did just have an “epic” fail, don’t you dare give up!

Parenting is so awkward, so inconsistent – messy and clearly imperfect, because it depends on us, and when you finally realize how hard it is and how bad your failing at it…. relax, it’s not about the externals, it’s our kids hearts that matter.

Our hearts are the core of who we are, our minds are the instruments we use to navigate life and logistics and the world we live in, but it’s our heart that drives us, that forms our values and beliefs. Our kids are not going to follow Christ because of how well we adhere to our patterned discipleship plan, they are going to follow Christ because they see Him transform our homes into something beautiful, that something maybe very messy… but it’s authentic and beautiful and commands their attention long after they have moved on to college and start living out life on their own.

So take hope, your house may have four days of dishes sprawled across your kitchen counters, and six feet of laundry blocking the hallway…but if you as the parent, keep close to Jesus and walk humbly with your family through all of the “unexpecteds” of Life, you can bet those kids will respect your faith enough to check it out for themselves.

That’s all anyone of us can hope for.

So, don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t freak when your sixth attempt at re-starting a weekly or daily devotional time with your kids get’s busted up by yet another surprise event in your life.

Rely instead on the power of God to show through us messy, flawed parents in an authentic personal testimony of Faith that far overshadows the many failings and frustrations we carry around with us on any given parenting day…

Peace Out… Pastor B.

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