When the doubts come that you have what it takes to parent your child, you need more than a mentor to help you along the way. There are some things you need to firmly believe for yourself.
You Were Made for Parenting
God made you who you are. If he gave you the ability to bear children, it follows he has given you tools to perform the job. A woman who successfully breastfeeds understands this. Her body was made to provide nourishment for her child.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15 NIV).
If you’re unable to bear children, it’s still true God has put it in you to have compassion for the young ones and the desire to enrich another’s life. However a child comes to you, you can do this with his help.
Beware of Pride
It’s good to have the confidence that you were designed to parent, but be aware of the temptation to leave God’s direction out of your parenting. No one appreciates a dictator, or conversely, a neglectful parent.
As I suggested in tip #1, spend time turning your attention “in the moment” to God every day. Ask him to humbly lead you as you lead others.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).
One vow I made as a new parent was that I’d copy my father’s example when he took us aside and apologized, asking us to forgive him. It showed me he understood he had human failings like me, and he too needed to be careful to follow Jesus.
My over-active brain is anxious and tells me the instructions in Psalm 27:14 (NIV) amount to nothing but laziness and thumb-twiddling. I have a serious problem here, Lord, and you tell me to wait?
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14 NIV).
But waiting is not the same as inactivity. Being strong and staying strong requires work, and so does taking heart.
One of my jobs while I’m waiting is in verse 8: “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face.’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.” How do I seek him? I simply keep turning toward him, reading the Bible, talking to him and listening for him, seeking wise counsel, accepting correction, being willing to follow wherever he leads – even if I must leave everything behind. That’s good, hard, waiting work!
As for the “taking heart” part in my waiting, here’s a verse to strengthen my heart. “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (verse 13).
Verse 10 says that “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” My head wants to argue with that and answer, “Yes, you are always with me, as you promised, but what about my family troubles?”
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14 NIV). I will be strong, I will take heart, and I will wait for him.
My new favorite book. No, really. That Dog Won’t Hunt is on my Favorite Books & Stuff page with an asterisk. I found it an engaging, heartbreaking, and satisfying read.
The cover photo of a Yorkie, who hates having her teeth brushed, is perfect for this book. Lady Penelope rules her doggy domain with no concerns about her place in the family, unlike Ben’s fiancée Christina. Ben’s parents, sisters, brothers-in-law— well, they don’t seem to have the right key to help Christina loosen up, be herself, and feel accepted by their family.
The good-natured Dearing family banter and teasing seems to threaten her. And Ben, thoroughly enamored with his bride-to-be, doesn’t see there’s a problem at all. He leaves to play golf with the guys.
With the strikes against her from being an only child and suffering from an abusive past, she just doesn’t fit in. Even Lady Penelope sticks her nose in the air and leaves when Christina talks to her. Defeated, Christina holes up in her bedroom apart from the family, waiting for Ben to come home.
More than any of the other characters, I related most to Ben’s mother. She wants her family close, to see them heal their hurts and enjoy each other. Don’t we all want that? Since this is my first attempt at a book review and I’m not sure how much I should reveal, I’ll stop telling the story here.
That Dog Won’t Hunt is available as an eBook for $2.99. In print form it’s $9.69. Here’s a link to Brandilyn Collins’ website to find your copy.