It’s difficult to turn on the TV or visit online news sites without getting an update about the “royal baby” or seeing footage of the beaming parents introducing their son to the world. Joy and optimism are written across their faces. Like any new parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undoubtedly spend many long moments gazing at their son and marveling at every perfect detail. Jean and I have so many fond memories of studying the perfect faces of Trent and Troy when they were first born.
So these types of events stir up a wonderful wave of nostalgia in many of us. But if we’re honest, not every moment with a newborn is so sweet. New parents have a lot of trying situations to deal with, and Jean and I were no different. For us, it was many long nights with a colicky baby that refused to stop crying. At times it felt like we weren’t up to the challenge. Sleep deprived and tired and at a loss at how to best cope with the colic, sometimes it felt like a victory just to make it through the day.
But you know what? Sometimes making it through the day is a victory, because parenting isn’t easy. Even now, with those newborn days far behind us, Jean and I face our tough parenting days. That’s natural – even the best kids will take their moms and dads to the limit every now and again.
Here at Focus, we like to talk about “thriving families,” and yes, God wants your family to thrive. However, please understand that going through tough days doesn’t mean you’re not thriving. It just means you’re living through the messy beauty that is marriage and parenthood. It’s a process that’s meant to take you to God in prayer.
So may I encourage you to adjust your expectations a bit? Things don’t have to be picture-perfect all the time. There will be times when you oversleep and be late taking your kids to school. You might have lost your cool and acted in a way you regret in front of your child today. That’s part of life.
As my friend Bobb Biehl – a man who served on Focus’ board of directors for nearly 30 years – has said: there’s a season in life when winning simply means you kept your kids fed and with shoes on their feet. Give yourself some grace.
When you get knocked down, stand back up and trust God for strength to help you through. Be encouraged with the words of the Apostle Paul, who wrote “these light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
God is glorified when He walks you through these challenging seasons, and He is faithful to make sure you emerge stronger for the journey. Once you embrace the fact that life on this side of eternity won’t be perfect, you’ll be better able to appreciate the worth of the challenging moments, as well as those ones filled with happiness and hope – like when a young couple brings their baby home.
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