Perhaps you have heard the saying, God doesn’t call the equipped He equips the called? I’m not sure who first coined this phrase but it sure is the truth. Is there any role that this applies to more than the role of parent? I think not. The moment we find out that another life has been entrusted to our care the questions begin and the questioning of our ability takes on a life of its own. The thing is, those questions and the “questioning” never really end because parenting never ends. Whether you are raising one child or fifteen, a boy or a girl, an infant or a teen, a child who excels or struggles, the question of personal competence rears its head and threatens to overtake us if we don’t believe what God tells us in Philippians 2:23. It is God who works in us to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. Raising His children is clearly His good purpose.
I don’t know about you but man do I struggle to remember this at times. It wasn’t too long ago that I was sharing with one of my sisters a bizarre parenting revelation I was discovering. My children are several stages ahead of my nieces who have not yet hit the teenage years. I had been thinking about how many young parents “dread” the middle school years believing they will not be “equipped” to handle all that comes in that season. As my second child launched from our home and my third got her driver’s license this epiphany hit me…….wait a minute, I thought this was supposed to get easier and the fact is I am exhausted and I’m not sure I know what I am doing.
Why? Why was I so tired? They are driving themselves, living in other cities, able to do their own laundry, and cook their own meals……. what’s up with being out of breath half the time? And then it occurred to me…. once they get their driver’s permit, the new stages begin to come at you at the same pace as toddlerhood. From the moment they are born we physically watch them change before our very eyes and the developmental markers start to unfold: sleep through the night, roll over, hold a bottle, sit up, crawl, pull up, steps, climbing, running, and on and on it goes. Everything new.
Can I do this? Am I equipped?
Then the preteens and teens bring the stages of emotional marathons. Should I tell her she has bedhead and risk her thinking I am saying she isn’t pretty or should I let her go and risk someone making fun of her and then the wrath that will come from not mentioning it? Why is he so moody? Boys don’t have periods! Nobody told me that their hormones are raging, and they get just as moody as girls.
Can I do this? Am I equipped?
And then the stage of launching. Just when the physical and emotional endurance begin to ease the pace of new seasons picks up for them and then THEY start to ask questions. Lots of them.
Can I drive to a church event tonight?
Me: On the highway?
Can I have the car for a date?
Me: With who? Do you like someone? What does “date” mean these days?
Do you think I should go to school in Texas or California?
Me: How will we get your belongings there and back?
Can I work for a camp this summer?
Me: What about family vacation?
How long do typical engagements last?
Me: Are you about to get married?
E V E R Y T H I N G is a learning curve. Again.
Because every child is different, every stage is different, and every circumstance is different.
So here is the good news. No, here is the great news: God equips us when He calls us and if He has given you a child He has called you to His purposes. He has gone before you. He will come behind. He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and His promise is that He doesn’t leave you. He walks with us and when we seek Him, He says He will answer.
We all want to know that we are parenting well. We all want to contribute to the lives of our children in a positive manner. We do. That is the heart of a mama. We will all mess up because we are imperfect. But…….but God. God is our Heavenly Father and He wants to help us. The children He has entrusted to us belong to Him. He has a plan for them, but He has one for us too. We are each one of His children and He wants to encourage us and equip us. He loves us! Because He has you…… you have this! You are competent!