My dad has never enjoyed swimming, or anything involving large bodies of water. The times he’s been cajoled into going fishing on the ocean with my uncle have resulted in some pretty hilarious stories; to hear him tell it, he was near death the entire time, with sharks eagerly waiting to eat him alive. All of this makes perfect sense when you understand that he was taught to swim by being abruptly thrown into a pond.
I think parenting is a whole lot like my dad’s first experience with swimming.
Many days, I feel like my dad must’ve felt on that summer day of his childhood; I’m sinking to the bottom of the pond, and wondering if I’ll drown.
I can’t even count all the times I have thought, “I am not prepared for this. This is not something I was ready to deal with! What do I do?!?”
I’ve often wished that children came with a manual. You get one with cars, appliances, cell phones — why not kids?
Most days, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. This parenting thing is new all the time; I don’t think there ever comes a time, even after the kids are grown with families of their own, when we can say, “Now I understand all there is to know about parenting.”
I do believe that the Bible is our ultimate instruction book for parenting — but I need specifics on how to manage social media, how to transition roles in parenting a soon-to-be-married child, how to deal with all the many challenges of our kids having other families we aren’t exactly part of (since we are a blended family), and how to help my adopted child handle the pain of her past.
When I feel that I am drowning, all I can do is call out to my Savior to give me the discernment I desperately need. I’m amazed at the specific things He has taught me and shown me as I parent the children He gave me.
But sometimes, just when I think I’m swimming really well, an unexpected undertow catches me off guard, and I begin to go under again. My husband and I link hands and hang on, and together we both cry out to God; His grace and wisdom are the only things that get us through.
I don’t have all the answers and I never will. But I have a Father who does.
I can’t imagine trying to navigate the world of parenting without Him.