For when you are feeling less than perfect…
During the last few months we have probably got to know our families better. Our love is unconditional but there are aspects of one another’s character that we like and some aspects that we perhaps don’t so much. I know that this has been the case for my husband and I. We love our family deeply but under our watchful eye we notice traits, habits or characteristics that are far from perfect.
At times, the ones we love in this world the most may cause us the greatest frustration and concern – this is part of what it means to be a family after all and to love deeply. We carry one another’s burdens.
As you look back over the last few months what are the aspects of your children’s character that you can give thanks for? What are the areas that cause you concern that you can pray about?
After all, God, as our children’s heavenly Father, cares about our children deeply too, and He wants us as earthly parents to do our best to lead our children in the right way with His help. We co-parent with God.
As Proverbs 22 v 6 says;
‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.’
God has given us the privilege and responsibility to raise our children, to train them up. So sometimes when I see my children behaving in ways that aren’t appropriate I then begin to question my own parenting and can start to feel guilty or a feel like I have failed my children. The finger of blame turns from pointing outwards to inwards.
Somehow we forget that we as parents are just human, that we have weaknesses and needs too. That we are not perfect. For some of us this sense of guilt may have been compounded by the task of less-than-perfect home-schooling on top of other responsibilities.
We can expect ourselves to be super-human. Guess what? It is ok to not be super-human. You and I are never going to always get it right as parents. This is truly humbling and when we reach this place of recognising our need we are more open to turning to God for support and help. A position of humility that would be helpful for us from the start, and every day.
1 Peter 5 v 6-7 reminds us;
‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’
This humility brings us to our knees (metaphorically) in prayer (while you are doing the dishes, working on the computer or struggling to get someone to sit at peace to read a book.) God help.
I have written a short prayer which you may find you relate to in parts. Feel free to adapt for your own situation.
I know I am
not perfect and that’s ok because none of us are
Yet I am the one you have chosen to bring up my family – so in a sense I am perfect for them.
Help me remember that you are co-parenting with me
To cast all my cares for each of my children upon you.
I name them before you today knowing you love them deeply too.
(Name your child, give thanks for them and name your deepest concern.)
Help me to forgive my family where they may have caused me hurt or distress.
Father for the times that my parenting has been less than ideal
I ask for your forgiveness and guidance.
Please also forgive me for the times I have tried to do it alone without your help
Carrying worries and concerns – allowing them to simmer below the surface
Forgetting to turn them into prayer.
Thank you Lord that you see my needs also
Parenting can be so hard for me at times because… (name your reasons)
Lord, you are my heavenly Father too and you see these needs
Please help me gain the strength, wisdom, insight and patience
To be the best parent that I can be but to also have patience with myself too.
Thank you Lord that you understand
And that you can help me and my family.
I commit my family now to your care once more
Trusting that you are walking this path with us
Drawing alongside us and moving at our pace.
Thankyou for your promise to be with us always.
SONG FOR WORSHIP AT HOME
Here is a reflective song based on a prayer by Teresa of Avila – it reminds us of how God’s presence in our lives is sufficient for us and encourages us to not fear anything. It’s a powerful prayer which has been set to beautiful music.