Children are miracles. That first moment when you hold them in your arms is so precious, so incomparable to anything else. Could anything be more beautiful and wonderful?
And then you get home. They’re crying and pooping, constantly hungry, and requiring so much dedicated attention that you find yourself in a state of daily exhaustion. Your life shrinks and suddenly, parenting doesn’t feel beautiful; it feels messy, gross, and insignificant. You may doubt yourself often. I know I do.
Children are beautiful, exhausting bundles of joy, and frustrating perpetrators of chaos. But there is beauty. Though it may be hard to believe, in the midst of this tiring, uncertain mess you call your life, there is always beauty.
The Beauty of Raising Children
1) They are a sign of life. Children represent the hope of continued life and beauty. Yes, they are messy, and they make mistakes, but don’t we all? Our day to day existence, regardless of whether or not kids are involved, isn’t perfect. When you are raising children, you’re continually reminded that life is moving. These little people give you the opportunity to fully invest in someone else and watch the seeds you plant grow to fruition. It is, in a way, as though a part of you continues on through them.
2) It teaches you how to juggle schedules. The more children you have in various stages of life, the more planning and scheduling you get to do. School, doctor’s appointments, sporting events, dance recitals… Bit by bit you learn to take the various needs and wants of other people into consideration as you plan out your day. You may not be neat and tidy at this task, but you do experience what it means to live and plan for more than yourself.
3) Your communication with people of various ages and life stages improves. How I converse with my husband is different than how I speak with my six-year-old. Translating kid language into two-year-old comprehension is even more challenging. Yet, in doing so, I’m learning to understand their world and see things through their eyes. Life becomes brighter, filled with unicorns and mermaids and the simple pleasure of being outside.
4) It gives you an essential ministry at home. You’ll never have a greater impact on anyone than your children. They love and admire you and, when they’re young, take in everything you say and do with eager ears and eyes. It’s terrifying. This responsibility is so significant. Everything they learn from us will impact their lives and the lives of those around them, for better or for worse. Our actions will affect our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There is no greater, longer-lasting ministry.
5) It offers you the opportunity to learn more about God as Father. I think about the imperfect love I have for my children and imagine, in God, that love multiplied and displayed in the purest love. Could anything be more wondrous than His love for us? As a parent, I can identify in a more profound way with the depth of His grief when He allowed His Son to suffer on the cross and the height of His joy when He raised His Son to life and brought Him home. The Bible passages that talk about how God disciplines those whom He loves make much more sense. I now understand it when it says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15, NIV). The image of God as Father is a humbling and indescribably beautiful picture.
6) It teaches you to entrust others to God. When I was single, I learned to rely on God for my safety. As a parent, it’s a whole new challenge to rely on Him for my children’s well-being. How will I know if they’re ok if I’m not with them? Can I really trust God to take care of them? What if something bad happens? In this area, as in all the others, I’m learning, making mistakes, and growing.
Parenting isn’t easy. While some days are definitely better than others, parenting is hard, yet, it is one of the most beautiful and worthwhile joys and responsibilities. May God help us see the beauty in the mess, the joy in the exhaustion. May He give us wisdom and strength in each moment and teach us to love our children as He does.
Join me: what do you like about parenting? What lessons have you learned? Let me know in the comments below.
And that concludes this posting. May you all have a good, God-filled week!