By: Kate Ritchie
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it is just holding the line on a boundary, day in
and day out. Other times it is watching or guiding your son or daughter through a difficult
season of peer pressure or social pains. We experience actual growing pains and health scares.
We are up all night with a baby sick or have an irritable toddler going through separation anxiety. Perhaps your family is navigating special needs in a world not designed for those with differences. Potty training. The stomach bug. Hard conversations. Meltdowns. We are mending broken hearts and broken bodies; parenting is the hardest thing I know I have ever done.
The other day I sent a text to a friend about how we were struggling through a difficult season
with one of our sons. After pouring out my heart, my friend offered a few solutions and
said, “I’m just sorry it’s hard.” I needed to hear those words. The truth is I feel sorry it
is hard too. I frequently wish it weren’t hard.
Without thinking, I texted back, “He is worth it.”
The words jumped off my phone as if written by someone else and brought me to
tears in my kitchen. Without a shadow of a doubt, he is worth every single hard day and
more. But that wasn’t what caused me to read the text with new eyes. Suddenly I saw myself in
my son’s shoes. I couldn’t help but think about all the hard seasons of my own life. Whether I
walked through senseless pain that I didn’t deserve or the seasons my selfishness or pride had
made my life harder than it needed to be. Even this moment right now, carrying a heavy burden
for the child I love so much.
To my Father in Heaven, I was worth it.
When parenting is hard, the Gospel is good. Often the reality of the sacrificial love of God is
easier to accept for someone else. It’s easier to believe that God loves my children with
everlasting love, but it is often hard to truly grasp that God loves me in the same way. Though I
know and believe God loves me, it can feel like a distant and undeserved reality.
Being a parent is a beautiful reminder of the goodness of what Christ has done for us. One
moment we are looking into the eyes of our child, ready to do anything to help them. The next
moment God can suddenly reverse the roles, in awe of the truth that we are God’s children. We love our children through the most challenging moments in life. And Christ reminds us in the challenging moments with our children that those were the moments he loved us too. Christ saved us not when we were perfect, obedient children but when we were his enemies. Christ came down from his throne in Heaven, lifted the burden of sin from our backs, and placed it on his own. He carried our sins to the cross and took our place in the death we deserved. He died so we could live. Walking through hard times with our children can be an opportunity to experience God’s love as his child.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him” (Ps 103:13).
The Gospel is also good news for us now. It is hope for whatever situation your family is facing today. When difficult seasons arise, the resurrection of Christ is our hope for the future. The
resurrection of Jesus set into motion the healing of our broken lives and broken world. It is our assurance that Christ will return to make the world new. One day Jesus will wipe away all the tears of those you love and all the tears you have cried for your children. We take hope in the good news of the Gospel because the world will not always be as it is now. Because of the death and resurrection of our Savior, we take heart that Christ will return and make all things new.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away’ (Rev 21:3-4).”
If you are walking through parenting challenges, I pray that you will have eyes to see yourself the way God sees you. God the Father looks at you, his son or daughter, and declares, “You were worth it.” He traveled the furthest distance. He humbled himself through death and the grave. He allowed the worst to be done to him for you. May the love of Christ fill your heart and empower you to pour out his love to your children. May you also have hope. Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead and defeated the power of sin and death forever. He is coming to make all things new. Take heart; when parenting is hard, the Gospel is good.
May this good news strengthen your weak knees, lift your tired eyes, and fill you with the hope of our future in Christ.