"Some people just shouldn't have kids."
"Well, neither should we, but someone's gotta do it."
-2-While Jeremy and I were engaged, we were visiting my cousins who asked us about having children. I admitted I was somewhat scared, afraid I would mess them up. "Oh, you will. We all mess up our kids. The question is just how badly." This assurance, from parents I greatly respect, made the whole endeavor much less intimidating.
I question my decisions about my children frequently. When should I insist on a particular schedule? How much of that does he really need to eat? Since he missed his nap, what time should we put him to bed tonight? Daily choices need to be evaluated to increase the odds that I am doing what is best for our family.
The question that most plagues me, though, isn't one I can answer by doing enough research or reading parenting blogs. Am I living out my faith authentically? I know, from inspiring first-hand experience, that what parents model is crucial for a child's faith.
To know how I share my faith with my children requires soul-searching. A lot of it. (I've found those 5AM nursing sessions to be good for this type of thing.) This isn't like deciding whether or not to circumcise, a one-time decision. I need to be diligent in seeking God, daily, relying on his grace to pull us through this messy life.
I must be able to identify my faults in order to correct them. I must strive always to live out the calling to which I have been called. But just as importantly, I must accept God's mercy. When he forgives and calls me out of darkness into light, I must be willing to answer. Accepting mercy requires humility.
It's hard for me to accept mercy. I want to be good enough, to do it on my own. If I cannot accept God's mercy, though, I am in no position to give it to those around me. Pray for me, would you? And for every other parent raising a child. We can't do this alone.