Parenting is Permanent
By Diane Markins
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
~author, Elizabeth Stone
“Only four more years ‘til I can quit worrying about my kid,” said the dad of a 14-year-old boy. The sad thing about this particular father is that he meant it and later proved it by neglect and emotional abuse.
For the rest of us, being a parent is a life-long deal. The job description may change as time goes on, but the commitment, love and concern remain constant. Sometimes, especially for parents of “terrible” two-year-olds or even more terrible teenagers, this thought is not necessarily a pleasant one. We wonder, “Will this ever get better?” It can be exhausting and daunting.
But the alternative is much worse. As Don and Roxanne muddled through the funeral of their precious son Tim, there was never a moment they wouldn’t have given anything to trade for their days with a demanding toddler or trying teen (although he was apparently neither). He valiantly battled cancer but finally lost at the age of 32. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. This kind of pain doesn’t make sense, but it happens.
Being someone’s mom or dad never ends. The joy you feel when celebrating your child’s successes, the pain you feel when they have failures or losses and the intense heartache when they are ill or worse, when they die: these things are a part of the package. Permanently.
Even in the often-told parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32), the father never gives up. He never decides to stop being a parent just because his kid messes up in a huge way.
If you have young children, draw on the strength and support of others to help give you stamina through this season. If you have teens that are testing every rule, boundary and request you make, stand firm. If you have adult children who are struggling, living apart from your will or in some kind of trouble, be strong and don’t give up.
For all parents, be reminded that God’s grace is sufficient and that nothing can separate your child from God’s love and care. Romans 8: 39 says, “..neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Let God’s grace fuel you to stay the course and continue to act with love and patience. There will likely come a time when things will get easier. Your energy will be back to normal and your every thought won’t be consumed with, “When will this end?” Be encouraged by 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
Keep in mind that some parents (like Don and Roxanne) would give anything to be in your shoes. Press on parents. You signed on for a life-time deal. And for those who aren’t parents, remember the power and blessing of your prayers for the moms and dads all around you.
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Diane Markins writes and speaks in a "high def, life-transforming style" about issues that impact daily living.She is the host of Women in High Def radio show, but is also a speaker and writer. She enjoys travel and has been from Mexico to Zimbabwe but always loves coming home to roost in Arizona near her family. See more of her writing at DianeMarkins.com.
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