Have you ever had one of those truly awful parenting moments? One that you think back on and shudder with regret? Remorse? Maybe you acted before thinking. Maybe you spoke words that wounded your child. Maybe your anger from another situation spilled over to your kids. Perhaps you were overprotective and kept them from a situation that in hindsight would have been amazing. Maybe it was worse.
Let me first tell you this: We’ve all been there. Many times. Raising children is hard, messy business. And we never have it all figured out. Just when we think we’ve reached a place of understanding and maybe experienced a bit of auto-pilot with our kids and life, boom, it changes again. They grow and change. We hit difficult situations. We react. Sometimes in a way completely opposite of grace and love. Maybe we feel shame. Regret. Sadness. Depression. Anxiety.
As difficult as those situations and the consequences are, know this: God Redeems. Yes, He redeems us through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. And he redeems all of these moments with our kids. Good and bad. Hard and difficult. Shameful and regretful. There are a few things I have learned through this process:
I can stand with confident expectation that God will use these ugly situations for His good. He will grow us through them. He will show us a new way when we’re open to His course correction. He will always walk beside us and be there for us.
Knowing and being reminded that He is there prompts me to ask for forgiveness. First, I ask Jesus to forgive my transgressions. Forgiveness for not walking with His heart and wounding His children. Then, I have to ask for forgiveness from my own children. Yes, even as parents we need to admit our faults and ask for forgiveness. We can apologize for our mistakes, talk about what we’re learning about ourselves and God through the situation, and we must ask for forgiveness.
I’m not saying this is an easy process. Asking our children for forgiveness can seem like an odd choice, but it’s a necessary choice. As we do this we’re modeling Christ for our children. We’re modeling His heart to the children He has entrusted to us. During this time we know that we can rest in Him. He will be there, He will guide us, He will give us the words to say when we don’t even know what to say.
He alone is our source and we need to stay connected to Him rather than seeking affirmation, contentment or absolution elsewhere. When we have those ugly parenting moments we can be tempted to turn to our friends, get lost in addictions, or go into hiding from God. Those may be easier in the short term, but so damaging in the long run. We need to know we can turn to Christ right in the situation. As soon as we recognize it.
Remember, you are not alone. Be encouraged, have faith, and trust that God will redeem even your ugly parenting moments.