When it comes to parenting, how are you feeling? Is your family the picture that you had in mind? I know that for a long time I had this picture in my mind of the perfect family; the kind that you used to see on TV shows years ago. However, the reality of kids with special needs and the inability to totally control my life eventually made me take a more realistic look at image I was clinging to family. The truth is, we are all holding pictures of what we think a family is supposed to look like. Our pictures come from a variety of sources: magazines, TV, Hollywood, and parenting books to name a few.
However, the Bible does a better job at portraying real-life examples of parents and families. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at some of the parenting examples that you encounter in the Bible:
- Noah- had a drinking problem.
- Abraham- offered his wife to another man.
- Rebekah- schemed with her son to deceive her husband, Isaac.
- Jacob- his sons sold their brother into slavery.
- David- had an affair, and his son started a rebellion.
- Eli- lost control of how his boys acted in church.
You might ask, “What about Joseph and Mary? They raised Jesus and He turned out okay.” That’s true, but don’t forget the time they left Him at church for three days! Today, they would have been reported to child services.
Clearly, God is not trying to paint a picture of an ideal family. So what’s He doing? He’s writing a story. A story with multiple chapters, a story that’s unfolding, a story that is a process, not a point in time.. The Bible demonstrates with surprising candor that God is interested in using imperfect people…imperfect parents…imperfect kids…to tell His story.
God’s story is a story in which everyday faith becomes a reality.
It’s a story where we have a chance to start anew. It’s a story that gives every family and every parent a chance. Imperfect people are the primary characters featured in almost every story in the Bible and God uses them time and time again to influence those around them. I believe that as parents we can breathe a little easier to learn that God is not nearly as interested in putting a perfect picture in front of us of what our family should look like as much as He is trying to tell a story through us.
If your picture is not where you want it to be at this time, you may be tempted to throw in the towel. Don’t. I would encourage you to not focus on the picture. Focus instead on the bigger story that God desires to illustrate through you. Rather than painting a picture of the perfect family, God wants to use our families as a canvas for His redemptive story. He wants to use parents, just like you and I, to show our children and those around us what it means to have an authentic, everyday faith with a God who restores and redeems imperfect people.
Too many of us buy into the myth that we need to become the right kind of parent before God can use us to nurture our child’s faith and those around us. The Bible does not give us a perfect picture of the family, but it does suggest that every father and every mother has a unique role in portraying God’s love to one another and to their children. Let go of the myth and let God use you, just as you are, to tell His story.
God bless you and thank you for all that you do as a parent!