Can I just tell you? I have a love/hate relationship with recipes. Let me explain.
I love to bake. I love the way it all works out. The reading of the recipe, the careful measuring out of the appropriate amounts of this and that, the baking for just the right amount of prescribed time, and perhaps especially, the end result.
My mom always said, "If you can read, you can follow a recipe with success."
That's the other thing I like -- success.
But, I also hate recipes. Specifically, I hate (and yes, I know hate is a strong word) -- I hate parenting recipes. And they're really starting to wear on me.
I hate parenting recipes that tell us if we discipline in a certain way and pray in particular ways and have enough faith, and take all the right 'seven steps' , then -- tra-la! -- out of the oven of our efforts, we will joyfully produce a perfect cake of character in our kids.
Sigh. I wish there really was an easy, fool-proof recipe, for raising kids.
Can I be authentic with you? I used to think if I did everything right my kids would turn out right, and they wouldn't be tempted to do bad things or have bad attitudes or _______, you fill in the blank. Perhaps, you know what I mean.
I knew that perfection wasn't possible, but I did hope that if I did what the experts said to do, I would not fear for their futures, or wrestle with rebellion or stay up late wondering if they were making good choices or bad choices, or ever worry about them again.
And through the years, (and my kids now range from 10 years old to 20 years old -- all 5 of them), I read books (okay, devoured books) on what to do and what not to do as a mom. I attended conferences for moms, listened to radio shows, and talked to people who I believed knew what they were doing. I prayed and I loved and I disciplined and read devotionals and God's Word to them,
I was pretty much convinced that when my children were 6 months old and 2 years old and 4 years old and 8 years old and even 13 years old, that if I did everything according to the perfect parenting recipe -- I'd be good as gold, and so would they. In those days, I may not have admitted to thinking this way -- but I did.
Insert: their own free will.
Insert: God's story for them.
Insert: recipes and formulas don't always work.
Cakes don't always rise evenly. Cookies don't always taste good. Soufflés don't always fluff up nicely, but sometimes -- they fall.
And so do our kids -- just like we do.
Sometimes, no matter what we do and how much we pray and how many Bible verses we pour over and into our kids, they still make choices we wish they wouldn't and they struggle.
And it's hard.
It's hard to know that despite our best efforts and intentions and parenting techniques and ability read multiple helpful, well-meaning books on parenting, sometimes, it's not all about us, or what we do right, but about what God is doing.
Sometimes, God has a different story.
A story for His glory.
And I'd rather THOSE stories NOT be written for my kids. I'd like His glory to be reflected in sweet stories, not sour, painful, suffering, maybe even sinful ones.
Bottom line thought for today, the best I can do with and for my kids, is trust God. Yes, I am to do my best. Raise them according to His ways. Pray for them. Pray with them. Guide them. Love them. Discipline them. Pour truth in to them.
But most importantly, I need to trust God -- trust them to God.
I wish parenting was an easy "follow the formula -- read the recipe" kind of
But it's not an easy formula or recipe.
And truth is, if it was, then who would need Jesus? I sure wouldn't, and perhaps, neither would they.