If you’re a parent, this is most likely a question you’ve asked yourself more than once. “Am I doing this right?” “Are they getting everything they need?” “Am I ruining them?”
For most of us parents, it’s not enough that our children are fed, clothed, and sheltered. We want them to thrive, not simply survive. We want to give them the very best that we can, whether that is the best food, the best clothes, or even the best way to spend their time. We want everything that enters them, in their bodies, minds, and spirits, to be only good. But it is not that easy.
We only have so much energy and time in the day, and there are so many important things that call our attention away from our children, such as jobs or church or community duties. These are things that we can’t ignore, yet they take our attention away from one of the most important things in our lives: our children. We can figure out how to divide our time between the two, but a compromise is still a compromise. This is why so many moms are worried that they aren’t doing enough, and so many dads feel as if they are failing their families. In these times we ask ourselves, “Are we good parents?”
The answer is no, we aren't. At least, not in the way we would expect.
As much as you love your children, you can’t love them perfectly. As much as you take care of them, you aren’t able to give them one hundred percent of your attention. There is sin in your heart, and yes, it has a huge impact on your parenting. You cannot be a “good parent” because you are essentially not “good”.
James 3:2 states, “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”
And in Romans 3:23, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
But there is one who is good.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
We cannot be good parents ourselves, no matter how hard we try by our own efforts. But the beautiful reality for the Christian is that we don’t have to rely on our own efforts. Every day before we get out of bed, we can come to the throne of grace and obtain sufficient mercy for the day’s struggles. Our Father, the only Good Parent, can and will work through us in the lives of our children.
Lean on God for all strength, all goodness, and all peace in your parenting journey. Trusting in our own effort only leads to disappointment and failure, but God will always be faithful to His children.
This article originally appeared here on EngageMagazine.net.