I love fall! There are many reasons–cooler temperatures, pumpkin pies and lattes, beautiful leaves as they change colors, and Friday night football. Fall also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the previous season. critical
I want to encourage parents in whatever season of life they are in–pregnancy, one child, multiple children (some babies, others toddlers), preschool, elementary ages, tweens, teenagers, and empty nest. critical
How do you view the season of life you are in right now?
As a dad of a tween and 3 teenagers, life is crazy. In previous seasons, the kids were on the schedule that we determined; now our schedule is determined by our kids’ school, sports, activities, church, etc. I remember the sleepless nights as a parent with babies, the challenge of the toddler years of getting them to eat right, share with others, and road trips. The elementary years introduced friendships (good and bad), homework, and social activities. 5th grade was a rough year for all of our kids. The teen years are difficult. The empty nest looks really good right now. critical
What have I learned through all these seasons? Before I share my answer, let’s be reminded of what God’s Word says in Ecclesiastes 3:1: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Ecclesiastes is a great reminder for us as parents and leads me to three critical reminders:
1. There are no perfect parents. I know we know this in our heads, but how many times have you cried or been angry because you compare yourself to another parent? When you are having a rough day (no matter what stage), do not let yourself compare your difficult situation with another parent’s highlight reel. Every parent has joys and struggles. Comparison is not helpful in any of these stages. Remember Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.
2. We need God and others. I need to be reminded of God’s love every single day. One of my friends on Twitter often posts New Morning, New Mercies based on Lamentations 3:23. He does this to remind himself and others that because of what Christ has done for us, we receive new mercy each day. God’s love, compassion, and mercy never run out and because of this truth we can face the day ahead. But sometimes we forget. We need reminded of the gospel on a regular basis and this is where the body of Christ comes in. The church is not just something we do on Sundays but it is a family that walks together in good and bad times. 1 Corinthians 12:26 speaks to this: If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. critical
3. Be present in this season. As I reflect back on my life, I can see how I was either looking too much toward my past or looking ahead to the future. I wish I had been more aware of the present season. I am trying to focus more on today rather than what was or what will be. I don’t want to miss what God is doing right now. Let me close with Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” These verses help us see that by keeping our eyes focused on God that He will be with us no matter what we face today or tomorrow.
By J.L. Martin
Husband to Bethany
Dad of 1 boy, 3 girls
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Pastor of Children and Family at Hesston MB Church