Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Being a Parent

When you google the definition of parent, it says the following...

1.) a father or mother
2.) be or act as a mother or father to (someone)

Another definition that struck me said...

"a guardian, a proctector"
"to act as a parent to; to raise and nurture"

Wikipedia says..

"Parenting (or child rearing) is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotion, social and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the biological relationship."

I know my sources probably are not the best or most reliable but I would doubt that I would find definitions or descriptions that would be far from the ones above.

As we have begun this journey of adoption with the end goal of starting a family by bringing children into our home and family, I have spent significant time thinking about "being a parent." I think most parents would tell us that you are never really ready to be a parent and you just learn as you do it. My mom likes to say that babies do not come with an owner's manual. 

We are taking the non-traditional route to becoming parents in the world's eyes but in God's eyes it is the route in which he parents us so adoption is the deepest rooted path to a family established by the creator of the universe. 

I could make a pretty long list of the training and requirements we have already gone through on this path to being parents, but do any these really train or qualify us to parent? Sure, they have been helpful an educational on what to expect and what to not expect. They have alerted us on the realities of bringing a child into your home who has only known the walls of an international orphanage as home. They have bluntly prepped us for potential medical, emotional and psychological issues that are present in many, if not most, internationally adopted children. These realities alone were enough to really cause us to pause and ask ourselves if we really are ready for this. Are we sure? Are we parent-material?

In the midst of asking these questions throughout this past year, God has brought to mind the ways he acts as our father. He has also shown and reminded me of the opportunities he has placed on our path to deepen our understanding and desire to be parents.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:10

Recently our pastor began a series on Ephesians and this verse was the conclusion of the passage he was preaching through one Sunday. However, you must read Ephesians 2:1-9 to really grasp the emphasis in this verse. It is GOD who prepare these good works (like parenting) for us to walk into. He is glorified as we obediently walk in these good works. He gives us the gift of faith through grace to follow him obediently. 

This truth as well as so many others has been an encouragement to me in the midst of questioning if we are ready, if we are sure, if we really can and will be parents... Good parents. 

The Lord has also put so many opportunities for us to "practice" parenting. Since we are both teachers, we have had countless opportunities to, in a small way, be a parent-role in the lives of some of students. The amazing part of these opportunities is that the Lord has used those students to teach and shape us more than we probably influence the students. We had the opportunity to host a college student for the summer. My sister called him our "summer son." It was a great chance for us to learn how to support and encourage a student heading off to college out of state. The more we interacted with him, the more we found ourselves invested in his success. I am sure we only had a small glimpse of what parents go through as they send their children off to college.

There are so many faces and names of students who have impacted the parents we will be someday. Sebastian. Thao. Josh. Tram. Kaheem. Courtney. D'Avonte. Jeremiah. Kikelomo. Teya. Donald. Steven. Alex. Joe. Tyana. Rebecca. Mineka. Jay. Austin. Richard. Ryan. EJ. Amy. Antoine. Halston. and countless more could be added to this list.

And the more recent parenting training has been the newest addition to 2469 S Linden... Lucy, our chocolate lab. We brought her home in early June when she was just over 6 weeks old and barely more than 9 lbs. Now she is 5 months old weighing 43 lbs. (those stats are not exaggerated!) She has revamped and rescheduled our lives in many ways, most for the good. She isn't a perfect puppy, but she loves us unconditionally and forgives quickly. Yes she is a dog, but we learn a lot about ourselves from having her around. We learn that having something so small rely on us for everything is taxing and rewarding at the same time. We learn that functioning off little sleep is difficult. We learn that sometimes you get a good routine established just for it to get upset and you have to start over again. We learn that we have to communicate so that she is taken care of. We are reminded even though it would be easier at times to not have her around that sometimes the easy route is not the most rewarding or most beneficial.

Does all of that mean we are ready and prepared to be good parents? Probably not. We really have no hope apart from God's grace guiding us through it day by day. His grace is what has show us these lessons through these experiences. All we can strive for is that he gets the glory out of our lives as singles, young marrieds and someday parents.

Luke 12:48b "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." We have been given so much in all areas of life, but especially in the area of family and the parents who have raised us. We pray that we will be good stewards of these good gifts when our opportunity arises.


 

2 comments:

  1. I love this! Sister you and Phil will be great parents. I have loved watching you "parent" the other children that the Lord has placed along your path and I am SO SO SO very excited to have a front row seat when the Lord chooses to grow your family. Grace will continue to abound and when things start to get crazy aunt Mandy is ready and willing to take whomever needs it out for ice cream. LOVE YOU!

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  2. No one is ready to be a parent. It's refining as you go, just like marriage. God will use parenthood to make you holy in ways you haven't anticipated. Hardest and best job ever. (And the Ephesians verse is the MOPS verse for the year.) =)

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