Parenting Is Killing Me
Romans 12:1 “…in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”
I’ve said this countless times in the last 20 years. Somedays I’m dying a slow death from frustration, embarrassment, or all the other you-name-its that come with child-rearing. It manifests either as a muttering under my breath because of irritation or discouragement, or an outburst when I simply can’t take the ridiculous chaos of life any longer and I forget to use my “inside voice.” Nagging about unmade beds, settling petty arguments among siblings, or the impossible task of reasoning with an immature teenager. It requires infinite effort on my part and it is draining the very life from my veins. Parenting is killing me.
Regularly, I cry out to the Lord and explain to him (again) that I am unqualified to be mom to four sons because the task of raising them is proving to be more than I can handle. Surely he made a mistake because look at me, my soul is weary and my heart is repeatedly broken. I’m drowning in a sea of inadequacy, and there is no one nearby to rescue me. Lord, parenting is killing me.
The voice of the Father whispers to me in the quiet of one of my tantrums. “What if the act of parenting is less about the behavior modification of your children, and more about what I want to do in you?” he says.
Let me be honest. I’m not sure I like what that implies. I’d much rather point a bony finger at my selfish offspring than turn an introspective eye on my own heart. I’m arrogantly skilled at setting boundaries and doling out consequences, yet sometimes I dismiss the more significant matter at hand. When my parenting methods and strategies become more important than the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart, I miss the mark. No wonder parenting is killing me.
I realize the call to offer my body as a living sacrifice applies to my work as a mom. Scripture calls this sacrificial act “worship.” And sacrifice means something must die. I know full well what that “something” is. It is me. It’s my will, my pride, and my flesh. In the mundane tasks, the routine schedules, and the physical exhaustion that comes with being a mom, I must die to myself for the greater good. Parenting is killing me.
I see now. It isn’t about making sure my children don’t embarrass me in public or land themselves in jail. It is more about the work of God in my heart through this journey of motherhood. Only surrendered to him can I lead my children as he has ordained. My parenting honors God when it is a response to his mercy, a reflection of his sacrifice for me, and a refinement of his purpose in my heart.
So I crawl onto the beckoning altar and offer my life as a living sacrifice, yielding my will to his sovereignty. It is my spiritual act of worship and it is for his glory alone. Praise the name of Jesus, parenting is killing me.
Father, bring death to the selfish part of me, the part that becomes resentful, annoyed and impatient with the young gifts you have entrusted to me. When I’d rather be wasting time on worldly things, change me and bind my heart to yours. Refine me. Let motherhood, in me, be a beautiful, living sacrifice to honor you.