Christian Living


Mommy and the Joyful Three

Obstacle Course Parenting: Navigating the Stress

Some days seem like obstacle courses to us parents. Just when it seems all is well your four year old gets a fever or your six year old jumps off the couch and bites through her lip.

Parenting is never without some sort of scary or stressful surprise. Sometimes it can feel as if you are in some sort of TV reality show competition, waiting for the next big challenge.

I love my children more than I can ever explain. If I didn’t, I would have bowed out of this obstacle course long ago.

The good news is that the stress of parenting can be counteracted with the unconditional love you have for your children. I can go through a thousand different moods in one day. Being a mom (or dad) can make you feel crazy, worried, stressed and yet so happy.

In one car ride, my children can make me laugh hysterically and then turn around and make me grip the steering wheel, count to ten and pray for wisdom.

There is a sense of accomplishment though after chaotic day when I’ve survived all that life (and my kids) has thrown at me. I take pride in my ability to avoid a complete nervous breakdown.

When my youngest daughter was three, she was in her car seat as my sister in law and I drove around town running errands. Suddenly, my oldest daughter says, “Myley just swallowed a quarter.”

Paramedics, X-rays and a hospital visit were not exactly in the plans for that day, but suddenly that’s where we were. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve started my day out with plans only to end up in the emergency room or in some other place not on the itinerary.

Thank goodness God gives us the ability to meet these challenges. He allows us to have them in our lives so that we gain wisdom. We are meant to overcome and share our strength with other parents.

Sometimes it may feel like you are one more incident away from an institution. Trust me, God is there. Just as our children are watching us dodge one mishap after another, God is there with us, guiding us and showing us the way around that obstacle.

We all have bad, crazy days. They are unavoidable. Yet we have the best Father in the world. He doesn’t want stress to rule our lives. Our tantrums are not what He has planned for us. And don’t deny it; most of us can still put on a great foot-stomping, “It’s not fair!” performance, even as adults.

Just like I tell my kids when things don’t go as they planned… “No it’s not fair. But trust me, it will work out.”

All of us are facing something. Regardless of what that is, keep going through your days leaning on your faith. Understand that life is not perfect. You cannot control every second and you cannot predict the future.

What can we count on? Only God’s love. We can count on the fact that He knows what He is doing in our lives, that every mishap may somehow become a miracle and that every stressful day can be turned into one that you pat yourself on the back and say, “Wow, look at me. I’m strong, capable and OK.”

We control nothing aside from our faith and attitude.

How have you seen God’s grace at work in some of your trying parenting moments?

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