They say parenthood changes you. And it’s true: the world around you changes, and you change. Still the same person, but with new skills, attitudes, and perspectives tucked into your belt. Parenting has without a doubt changed me. Sometimes I miss the freedom, independence, and sleep from my former, pre-children life. But there’s one thing I definitely don’t miss: self-sufficiency.
I’ve always been a perfectionist. I’d follow the rules, read the book, do the work and achieve my desired outcome. Although now it’s obvious to me that God was always at work in my life, I had come to believe that I could accomplish anything with a goal in mind and some good old-fashioned elbow grease. I even wore my self-sufficiency as a badge, proud that I could conquer goals on my own. I depended on myself far too much and my God far too little.
I had grown to be so sufficient on myself because my relationship with the Lord was essentially nonexistent. I believed in Jesus, but I sure wasn’t following Him. I was following myself. I was living for me and what I thought was best for me. I was actually trying to be my own savior.
Enter: babies. My sense of self-sufficiency was totally upended when we brought our first child, a son, into the world. There’s nothing quite like bringing a newborn home for the first time to make you realize that you have no idea what you’re doing. Then came toddlerhood, which is a pretty wild ‘hood to walk through. Right, when our son turned two, we added a baby girl into the mix, and life was total chaos. Though I was thankful for the opportunity, this parenting thing was a lot harder than I thought it would be. And no rules I followed, no book I read made it any easier.
The days were hard, the weeks were hard, and it seemed like I was barely making it. I felt like I was failing: and with the self-sufficient mindset that I had, I was. Because trying to do life on my own strength was setting me up for failure. I realized, for the first time in my life, that I really couldn’t do this on my own.
I realized, for the first time in my life, that I really couldn’t do this on my own.
I pushed aside my pride, removing the badge of self-sufficiency I had worn for so long, and I got down on my knees. I cried out and admitted my need for a savior. I admitted that I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed help.
And there, on my knees, I found freedom from myself. I found redemption and truly amazing grace. “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9). My “self” isn’t sufficient, but His grace is. It covers my failures as a human, as a parent. Admitting to my weakness is okay. I’m not strong enough, but He is. And when I make it through each day and each week by His strength, He gets all of the glory.
I guess you could say that I found the gospel through my children. I knew of Jesus before, but I came to know Him through the struggles of parenthood. And with an eternally grateful heart, I can now share that same gospel with my kids. I have the opportunity to daily show my kids grace, modeling the grace my heavenly Father gives me. Living the gospel out to them, with them:
a beautiful cycle, glorifying our Creator.
If you think this means that I’ve got it all together now: I definitely don’t. But now I can gladly admit my insufficiency in parenting and in life. I can let Him be my strength instead of trying to do it on my own. I can find rest for my soul right there in the middle of the chaos.
Let parenthood change you. Let parenting expose your heart, attitude, and struggles. Let his grace wash over you and your shortcomings. Let His power be made perfect in your weakness. Let the journey of parenting take you to new and deeper levels with Jesus.