Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew (chose) you, before you were born I set you apart…” (NIV).
Children don’t choose what family to belong too or even ask to be born. Instead, God handpicks each child as a blessing for each individual family.
Parenting is hard work. Children, at times, by their very nature, can be selfish and sometimes, if we were all honest, they try to get away with doing the least amount of work, fighting us as the parents the entire way. If you think back to your childhood, I think you might just agree with that statement, as I remember plenty of opportunities when I did exactly that. Sometimes parenting can feel a lot like: Chores, discipline, repeat; chores, discipline, repeat.
However, I want to remind you (and myself) that parenting wasn’t designed for that. When I stop and think about the fact that I chose to be a parent, and that God blessed me with the children I am privileged in sharing the huge responsibility of nurturing, loving, and raising – parenting takes on a whole new meaning for me. It becomes less about mundane chores or discipline repeated over and over and more about stopping to really enjoy each child individually.
It is then that I notice (again) what a great sense of humor our oldest possesses. Or I remember the time we were stopped at Sam’s Club by a woman who wanted to compliment the kind nature our oldest was demonstrating with his much younger brother, patiently keeping a protective eye on him while we shopped close by. Or the time I was greeted with breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day or the way he willingly cleaned the house and set the table while I was out picking up his sister, without being asked.
I then stop to consider the kind and gentle spirit that our middle child exhibits, never wanting any of her friends to feel left out. Her tenderness toward little babies and her willingness to give her baby brother a bath (supervised still) so that I can have a break. I can’t forget her bubbly personality or the way she shines when she is singing and dancing on the Worship Team at church, using her talents for God.
Lastly, even our youngest is starting to exhibit signs of gentleness, kindness, and remembering to use his manners to show how appreciative he is when people help him. When he wraps his arms around me to cuddle at night or before naptime or the enthusiasm he shows when going for a walk or pulling into the church parking lot are more favorites.
Remembering to see and appreciate my children as the individual blessings they are does not always automatically take away the assembly line mentality I tend to get when I’m stressed or the deadlines are piling up. Once again, it does bring me back to appreciating why I chose to become a parent in the first place. And it’s great to think that God specifically chose these individuals, with their unique and wonderful personalities, just for our family.