We know God is faithful and will help us to persevere in the midst of parenting struggles, but even the best of parents can still be lured into despair. When we are lost in struggles we cannot resolve, when our children misbehave, when our teens go astray, when our loved ones feel distant, how do we carry on? We begin to believe that a child who cannot sleep is doing so to spite us. We allow ourselves to think that our high-schooler’s poor choices are a reflection of our failures. We start to doubt that our prayers are heard, much less answered. We simply want to give up. It becomes difficult to persevere. Difficult, but not impossible.
Our job as parents is not a role we can take on without support. Thankfully our God empowers us to do the tasks that he has set before us.
2 Thessalonians 3:3-4 reads: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
Through faith, we may not only find strength for the struggle but also be assured that it is purposeful. This verse tells us that we will be strengthened and protected from the evil one. And he is the source of all those faulty beliefs that cause us to despair in our current circumstances.
It is the evil one who whispers to you about your child’s deliberate decision to stay awake. And he is hiding the truth that sometimes children are fearful, are growing, are in need of more time to snuggle, before they fall asleep.
It is the evil one who convinces you that your faults have allowed for your teen’s foibles. He is hiding the fact that your love and attention are healing and that children who are growing in independence often make mistakes.
And, it is the evil one who tells you that prayer is futile and that the cries of your heart will go unheard. He is hiding the truth that we find in this verse, the truth we can find in the whole of Scripture, that God is near and He is loving and He wants nothing more than to draw near to you, to comfort you, to strengthen and affirm you, as you seek to raise your kids.
In the midst of struggle, we have a source for help. God will help parents to persevere in the midst of parenting struggles if we make the time.
We must choose to fix our gaze on the truth. We must trust and pray and wait. The God of all will direct our hearts and we will find new strength to respond, to enfold, to adore and, yes, to persevere.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra