One throws piano books. Another slaps her sister. I hear a stampede of angry wails from my side of the bathroom door. I am in the shower while the argument ensues; how to settle a dispute that has no witnesses while the shampoo runs into my eyes?
By the time I was their age my only sibling was an adult, off to college and living on his own. I have no model to draw from for working through these difficulties. I feel lost.
I send them to rooms, to beds, to think, pray, calm. I brush my wet hair and pray myself.
There are so many issues, topics that seem to be suddenly glaring. Areas in our parenting that are lacking. Where to begin?
One calms down, another confesses her wrong-doing. They go out to weed flower beds. Youngest child proudly presents weeds to be placed in water and displayed. Agitated from the morning, I take them grumpily, hiding behind a polite smile. If I’m honest, I don’t want to put weeds on the counter, but I can’t resist her unbridled joy.
And it occurs to me, this is what we’re doing as parents. Pulling the weeds of sin, working to get the stubborn roots, so that the beautiful flowers that are our children can grow stronger, healthier, more beautiful to the glory of their Creator.
While I’m being honest, it bears mentioning that I hate weeding, loathe yard work. Which is why the children are outside pulling while I’m inside typing. And while I can delegate yard work, no one else can do this work in their lives. While God ultimately directs their paths and who they will become, He has entrusted them to us, their earthly parents, to do this difficult, unending task of pulling the weeds of sin that seek to encroach on the beauty He is creating in them.
And He uses them to expose (often glaringly) and work out the sins in our own hard hearts, the flesh that screams to be made first.
This parenting is a sacred act, making us more like His Son more than almost any other crucible that life gives, if only we will submit to His instruction. And models aside, He will be faithful to lead me, lead us, as we seek Him daily to show us how to lead them.