"These children are dear to Me. Be a mother to them, and more than a mother. Watch over them tenderly, be just and kind. If they heart is not large enough to embrace them, I will enlarge it after a pattern of My own. If these young children are docile and obedient, bless Me for it; if they are froward, call upon Me for help; if hey weary thee, I will be thy consolation; if thou sink under thy burden, I will be thy Reward."
Amy Carmichael, missionary to India for over 50 years, wrote these words in the cover of her Bible. Amy was "mother" to thousands of orphans in India, rescuing them from poverty, temple prostitution, and more. Back in 2003, in the weeks right before Alaina's birth, I devoured many Amy Carmichael books. I wasn't a mother yet, but these words touched my soul and something inside me knew I would need them later. I wrote them on an index card and tucked them in my Bible. Over the years, I have often glanced through all the bits and pieces of paper I have collected, thankful that I wrote words down. The other day, I picked up this particular Bible (which I haven't used in a few years) and this note card fell out. What a blessing these words are, once again.
I need to remember that no matter how things are going in my parenting (good, bad, or ugly!), it all goes back to God. He is the one to whom all the glory goes. He is the one to all the cries for help go. He is the one who knows our weaknesses, the weaknesses of our kids, and the means by which to strengthen them. If I try to parent in my own strength, I will always fail. Even if my kids are obedient and "good," I fail if I forget that it is God doing the work and graciously allowing me to partner with Him.
As you start a new week of parenting, look to the One who can truly help and truly understand. He will enlarge your heart. He will strengthen you. He will be your reward.