If anything, it became worse.
I second-guessed what the kids ate for lunch.
I wondered if my three-year-old should be writing his name by now, like some other children his age.
When the endless sibling rivalry turned physical, I thought, Didn’t I teach them better than this? Will they ever get along?
Sometimes the worst critics are the ones running on repeat inside our heads.
We teach our kids to share, to love their neighbor, and to show respect, but when we don’t see the fruits of our labor, we question whether anything we say is sinking in.
We’re told in Proverbs to “train up a child in the way he should go” but when we don’t see visible results, we wonder what we’re doing wrong.
Instead of living in the present, we second-guess the past.
A couple of weeks ago, God gave me a push of encouragement along with a wake-up call. My husband and I had tucked the kids in for the night and were settled into our comfy spots in the family room. With the soft orange glow from the table lamp, we read our devotional app and talked about its subject, prayer.
The teaching gave a blueprint: Begin with thanks and repentance, then present your requests to God in Jesus’ name.
As we sat there talking, my mind went to our kids. Were we teaching them enough about prayer? My husband, as if reading my inner thoughts, said,
“Do you know what our son did tonight?”
“No.” (And I secretly wondered if I wanted to.)
“He thanked God for a good day at school and time playing at home. Then he asked God to place his hand on Coco and heal her.”
Coco, our dog, had been struggling to walk for last couple of days. At fourteen years and counting, she wasn’t as limber as she used to be.
Listening to my husband describe our son’s prayer, eyes welled up with tears. Here was our seven-year-old, modeling the exact form of prayer Jesus used with his disciples. And he wasn’t thinking of himself. He wasn’t asking for a new Lego set or a video game.
He was petitioning on behalf of our dog.
Even through all my doubt and questioning, God was working in the heart of our son.We were doing what we could do, but God was moving this little seven-year-old’s heart in ways only he could.
When we second-guess the past, we often miss what God is doing in the present.
Parenting is a tough road. There are days when we wonder if anything we are saying or doing is making a difference. In moments of frustration, it’s easy to play the past on repeat.
That night, God gave me an invitation to live in the now. To be present with my son as he prayed and grew and loved.
No matter what the future holds, I don’t want to miss the now.
Author: Abby McDonald