The following is a guest post by Melissa Mrozek Parker.
Melissa is a freelance writer and blogger. She writes about her faith in Jesus Christ and her experiences as a mother. I asked Melissa to write about how her faith influences her ministry as a stay-at-home mother.
To be a parent is to walk a tenuous border of extremes:
My personal needs, wants and preferences take a backseat, all the time, every day. At the same time, I’ve never been more sure of my purpose.
My love for my three children is more complete, reckless and absolutely unconditional than any love I’ve ever known. These same children can also push me past the limit of my temper and patience.
I’ve never been prouder of my life’s work. I’ve never felt so unsure of myself.
I’ve thrived on my independence as producer, teacher and caretaker of these little ones. I’ve craved affirmation constantly and desperately.
The one thing that has no flip side, the thing that I can say, however reluctantly at times, that I am unequivocally grateful for, is that parenting, more than anything else, has laid bare my absolute need for God.
Every day, every hour, sometimes every second.
In Need of Grace
To be a mother, especially one who is home with small children, is to be constantly faced with my faults and frailties. There is no reprieve—no lunch break, no drive home, no vacation. My children bring out my best, and witness my worst.
They need patience, wisdom, guidance, forgiveness—and love, love, love. The same things I require from my own Father, the gifts He offers unceasingly and abundantly. The gifts I can so easily forget if I’m not in the constant practice of asking for them.
There is so much grace needed. All Christians are called to lay down their lives like Jesus. For mothers, it’s often the countless mundane, tiny acts that no one else ever sees:
These may seem like little things, but when you do them a hundred, a thousand times a day, they become huge. They become everything. They become impossible unless I pray without ceasing. Every morning I pray for grace, every angry moment I beg for patience, every night I ask for better wisdom tomorrow.
Playing Candyland with your kids after dinner instead of relaxing with a book or TV show;
Feeding them first, even when you are starving, and then getting up six times during a meal to refill drinks, clean spills, and serve seconds;
Surrendering your physical body to the pains and marks of pregnancy;
Summoning all your strength not to scream at your children’s tantrums that don’t make any sense to you, and then summoning all of your tenderness and patience to hug them, to hear their little hearts, and to calmly work out their childish disasters.
Do It for Me
I remember raging in my head, tired and overwhelmed on a particularly hard day, Why do I do these things? Do they even matter? No one even sees what I do all day.
And then, quick as a breath and quiet as a whisper, a voice in my ear saying, “I see. Will you do it for Me?”
He has given me these precious charges. He knows them even more deeply than I do. He knows who they are, what they need, who they will be. He is my Father and theirs, and to raise them to know themselves and to know Him, I must, I have to, stay close.
Join the Conversation
- What things in your life have revealed to you your absolute need for God?
- How will you cultivate a daily awareness of God’s grace available to you? How will you pray without ceasing?
Melissa Mrozek Parker is a freelance writer, and a passionate but imperfect wife, mother and lover of God.
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