Today, I welcome Kelsey Scism to the blog. She shares her words on parenting today. Please go over to her site later and give her some love by reading more of her words.
Even as the wheels spin, ruts are forming – Encouragement for the struggles of parenting
One day as I rushed into the van headed for school already feeling worn out, a chorus of “he did this” and “she did that” rang out. I backed out of the driveway thinking, “Man, I am just spinning my wheels with this whole parenting thing.” I feel like every day (multiple times a day) I cover the same things with my kids: show love, don’t blame others, don’t repay wrong with wrong, be nice, be quiet, and on and on. Yet it doesn’t feel like we are making any progress, the wheels just keep spinning. In moments like these, frustration and hopelessness seep deep into my heart.
Driving down the smooth, solid surface of the highway, I started thinking about my wheel-spinning problem. I realized something about those spinning wheels: on a mud road, they create a rut. A rut worn deep into the ground seen by passersby days later or sometimes decades later. I remember hearing stories about the ruts in the fields near my grandpa’s farm having been made by the covered wagons on the Oregon Trail.
Maybe spinning my wheels isn’t such a bad thing if it’s creating ruts that will last a lifetime.
Wheel spinning can be a lonely endeavor, though. We feel like our kids are the only ones who fight, or act unruly, or can’t sit still, or talk back. It seems we’re the only ones without the answers. The truth is, even when we feel alone, our own Father, our Heavenly Father is right there with us. “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Parenting takes strength and courage – saying no, setting boundaries, disciplining. These things don’t come naturally, at least not for me. Sometimes, we think love is about satisfying, giving our kids what makes them happy. In reality, though, love is having the strength and courage to give our kids what they need but not everything want.
Love is teaching our kids the right way to do things by giving consequences when they go the wrong way. “For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:12). When it is time for correction, sometimes we need the courage Moses speaks of in Deuteronomy. As we say no, set boundaries, discipline, and use consequences over and over again, we create ruts. And though it feels like we are getting nowhere, the ruts we are forming in our children’s hearts will eventually produce self-discipline and a willingness to submit to God’s will and calling.
Teaching our children to follow the Lord may have us spinning our wheels, but that is what He has called us to do. He created our children with us in mind. He chose YOU to be that little boy’s, or that little girl’s, mom long before you even dreamed of having kids. The God of the universe knit that little baby inside the womb knowing that he or she would end up in your arms. He destined that child for you. “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3). When the wheels are spinning, it may be hard to consider the struggles of parenting a gift. In fact, sometimes parenting feels more like a punishment than a reward, and Psalm 127:3 might be recited through gritted teeth as we remind ourselves that our children are gifts. Ultimately, though, we recognize the blessings that they have been created to be.
In the frustration of spinning your wheels, it is hard to to keep going. It feels like the best option is to put it in park and wait for someone else to come along and help. We may feel like we are failing our children on a daily basis, but as Deuteronomy 31:6 says, the Lord will never fail us. He is already beside us, urging us to keep spinning, keep going, keep trying, keep working hard.
Even as the wheels are spinning, the ruts are forming. The ruts that will reach deep into the hearts of those gifts we call our children, ruts that will shape them and their futures. Ruts that can reach into the next generation and the one after that. Keep on spinning those wheels, friends, because ruts that reflect the Lord will last into eternity. Have courage, don’t be afraid, the Lord is there, He sees you spinning, and He promises never to leave.
Lord, thank you for being the perfect parent. For loving me through my mistakes, for sacrificing the perfect gift of your Son to save me from my sins. Father, this parenting thing is hard, and I need you. I need strength and courage. I need to be reminded that you are with me even when my wheels are spinning. Thank you for the power and encouragement of your word. Thank you for the gift of my children. Help me to raise them for you and with you.
Kelsey is a former language arts teacher, mother of four, principal’s wife, and most importantly a Christian loving our Lord. As a teacher, she loved inspiring and encouraging her students. Today, she finds inspiration in the everyday moments as a stay-at-home mom and hopes to encourage others along the way. You can check out more from her at https://lovingourlord.com or follow her on Facebook and Instagram @lovingourlordtogether.