Therese deSpelder (Lansing, Michigan)

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“Come quick Mom, we need your help!” yelled my son, out of breath from running in the house.  I immediately followed him, my heart racing and my mind running through numerous scenarios of what could be wrong. Once outside, I saw my middle son sitting at the very top of our fence.  Having climbed up, he was now unable to climb down because his pants were snagged. I carefully unhooked his jeans and watched as he, undaunted by the experience, moved on with his brother to continue their explorations.  My boys found confidence in knowing that whatever scrapes their exploits might bring, I would be there to help.

As a new parent, bringing my oldest son home from the hospital, I had a confidence much like my son.  I thought I was prepared and ready to handle any parenting situation. I would avoid all the parenting pitfalls.  I would be the perfect parent and would therefore raise perfect children.

But then I began to experience snags.  My children would behave in ways not mentioned in parenting books. I found my emotions would get the best of me at times, and I would yell at my children, something I was never going to do.  I found myself uncertain of what I should do at times and fearful that the choice I made wouldn’t be the right one.

As I began to doubt my parenting skills, I learned to do what my oldest son had done: yell out for help. The most powerful parenting tool I had was to lift up my children and myself to Jesus everyday.  When I did this, the challenges didn’t magically go away or my children didn’t instantly change, but Jesus gave me the wisdom and grace to work through difficulties and have peace in the midst of them. He brought scriptures to my mind that spoke to situations my children were experiencing.  He gave me words to speak when I had none and patience to say them with a calm voice. Jesus not only helped me in my parenting, but he also helped me become a better parent than I would have been without him.

I know I can have peace in this parenting adventure, not because I am a perfect parent, but because Jesus is parenting with me. I know no matter what snags I may encounter, Jesus is always ready and willing to help me.  Just like my boys, all I need to do is ask!"