As parents we have responsibility to love and nurture and provide and teach and train our children to become responsible, moral, hardworking, creative, authentic adults and contributors to society. Most of us try to do something like that, with varying degrees of competency and success.
But I’ve found that God seems to have an equally important role for our children in our lives. I will try to share a few of the things my kids have taught me. I’ll start with #1 child, Debbie.
Before Debbie was born, I was a magazine editor. I was totally enmeshed in producing that wonderful publication. I loved that we had a specific schedule for each month, week, day. The magazine was so compliant. Every month it came out on time and it was beautiful.
I stepped away from that responsibility shortly before my lovely daughter was born. It occurred to me I would need to learn to be a little more flexible about my schedule. But I read all the books, and I was pretty sure I could get Debbie on a good routine.
Surprise! Debbie had colic. Not the evening kind. Or the afternoon and evening kind. The all day and night kind. Her tummy hurt. She cried. And cried. And cried.
And she didn’t sleep. A few hours each night—maybe 5-6. But that was it. No naps. I read that “your baby will cut back to 14-16 hours of sleep, then 12-14.” How about 5-6?
My day went like this: Up by 5 or 6 with a screaming baby. An hour of nursing (no crying then). A few minutes of peace—quick put some clothes on. Then carry her, entertain her, sing to her, anything to get her not to cry until the 2-hour mark when I could feed her again. Repeat. Until midnight.
For four months.
I cried almost as much as Debbie did. I was sure I would never be rested again, never clean and dressed and presentable again, and for sure I would never be in control of my life again.
“Lord,” I said desperately, “this is not working. I am no good at this mothering thing. I am not the right mother for this child.”
He was very gentle in His reply: “Oh Judy, you are exactly right for Debbie—the one I created and chose to love and nurture and comfort her in her great discomfort.
“But she is also just right for you. I created her to help you learn some important lessons: People are not magazines. You are not in control. Things will not happen according to your schedule. You need to learn to let go, to flex, to relax.”
“But I don’t like not being in control.”
Then: “Judy, I am in control. I know much better than you the what and when and how for your life—and for Debbie’s. Rest in Me. You won’t be disappointed.
“My plan and schedule and timing are perfect.”
I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.(Isaiah 60:22)
More from “What I Learned from My Children” series: