Parenting: Unedited

As I filled in the last page of my journal today, I leafed through the pages of the past year. I came across an entry from a year ago which reminded me of my parenting journey.

I don’t write a lot about parenting. Honestly, I mostly don’t write about it because I feel like I’m failing most days. I certainly can’t give advice, and most of the time sharing my parenting struggles is painful. However, I distinctly remember the day I wrote this entry. With thankfulness to God, I realized that both I and the children I wrote about in this entry have come a long way.

My husband and I have purposed and had many conversations about how we never want to forget. During the good times, we don’t want to forget our struggles—in finances, in our marriage, in our parenting, in our spiritual lives, in times of health and sickness. We don’t want to forget because we want to share with others that we have been there, and there is hope. And we hope that those ahead of us in the journey do the same for us.

Here is an excerpt from a day that played itself out often in my life a year ago:

Warning: It’s raw and an expression of emotion. It was just how I felt that day. It is not meant to be a description of how a mom is supposed to feel. Just being real in the hopes that you who are going through a parenting struggle can see, I’m pulling for you because I am there, too.

“My thoughts run from, ‘Why did God give me (these children)?’ to ‘How could I have failed so miserably?’ Some days I look back and see progress, but on days like today, looking back reminds me that this has been going on for over 11 years. {The length of my parenting journey at that time.} Looking forward feels like a life-long prison sentence. Love hurts – a twisting kind of pain that brings to mind all I’ve done for (my children), and all I’ve neglected in one rush of sorrow, regret and despair.

But wait. There’s God.

What am I supposed to be learning through all this? Have I failed to pass all tests? Am I supposed to endure, fight; let go, hold on; work, pray; weep, toughen up? I’m lost as a mother today. I have no emotion or motivation left.

‘I need Thee, oh I need Thee!

Ev’ry hour I need Thee.

I bless Thee now, my Savior

I come to Thee.’

As I sit here, all my weaknesses flood and threaten to overwhelm me. All my strengths mock me – I can’t seem to gather enough of the stuff to do the basics.”

I smiled a bit today when I read this. It reads a little like a modern day Psalm.

I put away my journal, then flipped through the photos on my phone. These are the unedited clips of daily life. These are my kids over the last year, and a reminder of how far we have come.

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Fulfilling a dream for both of us of visiting American Girl with my only daughter
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My “inventor” enjoying a hands-on science program
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Looking quite chipper waiting for the doctor to come administer his kindergarten vaccinations
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Documented with my camera the rare occasion of a son in matching pajamas

Tomorrow I may write a “psalm” again. Our struggles are far from over. But, for today, I’m looking back to see how far we’ve come. And I never want to forget.



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