Raising kids is hard. Really hard. Can I get a witness? It seems like when you start to feel like you’re getting a handle on the whole parenting thing, something throws a wrench into it and you’re back to square one wondering what in the world you’re doing.
I think it’s almost impossible to truly appreciate your own parents until you’ve become a parent yourself (no offense, all you non-parents out there … this has just been my personal experience). You have no idea how much they sacrificed, put up with and dealt with until you’re doing it with your own kids. … and then that “ah-ha” moment happens … and happens … and happens … and you have an incredible appreciation and new-found respect for your parents. All of a sudden, your perspective has changed, and so has your opinion or judgment about how they handled certain situations because now you’re the one facing those same situations, but now from the viewpoint of a parent, not a child.
Life has a way of maturing us by bringing things full-circle, wouldn’t you say? Some call it karma; I call it sowing and reaping. Either way, our perception is affected and changed by what we experience. Since becoming a parent myself, I can’t imagine growing up without parents like many orphans in our world do. Surely, living life without the love and care of parents is one of the most tragic things anyone can experience.
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow” (Deuteronomy 10:18a)
Recently, we had a situation with one of our kids that broke my heart. I couldn’t reconcile or understand it. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. (I’ll just use “they” and “them” to represent my child so you don’t know if it was a son or daughter.) Why didn’t they come to us? Why didn’t they let us know that they were struggling with something? What prevented them from seeking advice and help from 2 parents who have deperately tried to keep communication and love at the forefront of their relationship with them?
Why were they acting like an orphan?
Why were they acting like they were all alone in this world with no one to help them? Why were they behaving like someone who had no parents to consult or care about them? Why were they trying to handle all these decisions on their own instead of seeking help from the people who love them the most?
It was heartbreaking, but I tried not to take it personally. In some ways, I think the answer to these questions is this: They are trying out their wings. It’s normal and natural for kids to want to try to solve some of their own problems to demonstrate to themselves and others that they are capable and competent decision-makers — that they are growing up and maturing — that they can handle some things on their own without mom or dad.
But … sometimes they find themselves in “over their heads” and they don’t even realize how deep they are … but we, as parents, can see … and often we rescue them … sometimes before too much damage to their heart or life has occurred … sometimes not. Sometimes we let them feel the consequences of their choices so they learn from them … but I still have that nagging question: WHY do they act like an orphan who has no one to help them?
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5)
And then God … He said His piece. He asked me why I act like an orphan sometimes, trying to take care of myself and fix my own problems instead of coming to Him for help.
Oh MAN! He was right (of course). Why did I sometimes try to figure things out on my own and only come to Him as a “last resort?” Why did I struggle needlessly when God was right there all along just waiting for me to seek Him? Could it be that I was too ashamed to come to Him for help? Or too proud? I knew exactly how God felt about my acting like an orphan because I felt the same way toward my own child. (And I also began to better relate to my child’s actions because I’ve done it myself!)
Sorry, God. I’m so sorry that sometimes I act like an orphan with no Heavenly Father to help me, guide me, and provide for me. I’m sorry for pridefully thinking I can take care of myself and that I don’t really need You. I really do need You! Help me to remember that I’m not an orphan; I have a Father who loves me, provides for me and helps me whenever I need it. I don’t need to try to do it all on my own in my own strength. Help me remember that You are just a prayer away, and that just like I long for my kids to come to me for help and advice and wisdom, so do You.