(Scripture references from the New Living Translation)
When I was a child, my favorite toys were always my baby dolls. I loved playing Mommy. I do still to this day have some memories of those dolls; and, I do remember after being married for about a year the desire growing stronger to start a family. A bit over two years after getting married, I had my daughter – my first child – and I was thrilled. My lifelong dream to be a Mommy had finally come true. Then 6 years later when I had my son I was overjoyed. My life now felt complete.
I guess we all probably have these ideals in our minds that we are going to be the perfect parent and we are going to have these perfect, wonderful, loving children that bring nothing but joy to our lives. However, at some point, reality sets in! Right? There were times that I just wanted to pull the cord, stop the Parenthood Bus and get off!
Do not misunderstand me – I love and adore my children. I would gladly give my life for either of them. They have given me much joy and many things to be proud of over the years. But…they have also given me a lot of grief and pain. (And, I am confident that anyone reading this that is a parent knows exactly what I mean.)
It does not matter how old they get, our children are still our “babies” and we worry about them. We want to reach out and smooth their hair, give them a kiss, then tuck them in all safe and sound. We want to be there for them – to save them from themselves – to help them and protect them. We want them to always be that ideal, sweet, loving child that we brought into this world. As they get older they still love us…and generally still want to please us and make us happy. But…they grow up and have lives of their own – in other words, things change.
There are times that I look at my children and marvel at how two such different human beings could have possibly come from the same womb. I look at them and wonder what all happened to them in their lives to make them the people they have become…to have, at least what seems to me, such strange and different ideas, beliefs and standards. Different not only from their parents, but to be almost totally opposite from one another – after all, they had the same parents, same home, same upbringing for the most part.
My daughter…there are traits that she has inherited from both her father and me that in and of themselves are not necessarily bad traits. But carried to an extreme or distorted in any way could become negative. For example, although I am not nearly so much anymore, I used to be a perfectionist. She carries that to all kinds of extremes – expecting perfection not only from herself but from everyone else. Can we say disappointment and frustration? Her father on the other hand was not the most sympathetic or empathetic person around. Here again, she carries that to the extreme causing me to be amazed and sometimes upset and embarrassed with her attitude toward some people, things and circumstances.
My son…just like his sister, he has inherited both good and bad traits from his father and myself. Like me, he tends to be more sensitive, sympathetic, empathetic – but, so much so that he sometimes goes past where he should in putting others before himself, cutting them more slack than he really should, thus causing himself unnecessary stress and upset; tending to allow his emotions to jump out ahead in situations that sometimes result in a lot of disappointment and pain for him. But, he also inherited his father’s, what I call, “Victim’s Mentality Syndrome”. This results in his not seeing past the idea that he is the common denominator when he has certain “issues” in his life that cause him problems.
(It may seem that I am focusing on only the negatives here – but, I will say that both of my children have wonderful work ethics – and that is something they witnessed growing up. They are both loyal to their friends. They both like their lives to be orderly and are neat and clean. They are both very smart intellectually – honestly, not sure where they inherited that! I could go on, but you get the idea.)
When, because of my children, I experienced upset and emotional pain, it would at times feel as though my heart was going to break. I would shed tears getting some temporary relief, but the distress and pain seemed to come flooding back in after a while. (And, just because they are now adults does not necessarily mean that has all ended.) Those were the days that I just wanted to shout at the top of my lungs….PULL THE CORD, STOP THIS PARENTHOOD BUS & LET ME OFF!!!
So how does this relate to our spiritual life? Well, it makes me wonder how many millions of times a day our Heavenly Father has that same thought? We must hurt and disappoint Him often. I cannot imagine the frustration He must feel when dealing with us. We have a Father that unlike us as human parents has nothing but good and positive traits and qualities. If we would only emulate those traits rather than getting off track how much better our lives would be!
You would think that the simple, forthright lessons He has for us in His Word would not be that difficult to follow. But our sinful natures pop up to take us down a path we should not walk on. We are very fortunate that He is a loving and forgiving Father. Yes, He will discipline us at times, or allow us to deal with our own self-created problems – but, He is always there to embrace us and love us through it all if we will but reach out to Him.
Thank goodness, the only reason the heavenly bus stops, is when that is what WE want for ourselves. Our Father does not stop the bus and just kick us off because of His frustration. He waits patiently for us to realize what we have done and for realization to set in; and, when we decide we are ready to get back on and continue the ride with Him, He will stop and pick us up again.
“’And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’” (2 Corinthians 6:18)
“…your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (Matthew 6:8b)
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-17)
Written by Karran Martin / January 2011 – Updated & Revised October 2019