Parenting in the Midst of the Mess! The Parenting Like God Series

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Oh, the trials and tribulations of potty training a toddler.

The first time my child walked up to me and proclaimed, “I need to go potty!” was a moment of success; my child was telling me she needed to potty! The training was working! My teaching was taking hold! I promptly helped her get on the potty where she then said, “You can shut the door, Mommy.” This was my cue to leave. She wanted to prove her independence, a trait her father says she inherited from me. I reminded her to let me know when she was done, and I would help her clean up.

While giving her the independence she requested (thinking back it was oddly silent- a warning sign I should have noted), I sat down and decided to send some encouraging words to a few friends I was in Bible study with. Soon, I was busy texting, scrolling, and sending. I was waiting for her to call out to me for instruction.

I then smelt an unpleasant odor. I realized my daughter was standing next to me, no longer in the bathroom. She was the origin of the smell.

“Hey! You have to tell Mommy when you are done so I can help you!” The mess she had made could be seen from the bathroom, down the hallway, and back  to my chair.

“What is that smell?”

I asked her a question I already knew the answer to.

My daughter had made a complete mess. Had she simply asked for helped, I would not have had to remove stains from the carpet, pick up toilet paper from the floor, use a whole bottle of Lysol, or relate to her my disappointment in the mess she had created.

I have discovered parenting is frustrating when our instruction goes unheeded.

Can you relate?

We want what’s best for our children. We teach and train them so they can grow and mature. We don’t want them to make and live in their messes; I’m not talking about potty training anymore.

How must God feel when His children make a mess? When we don’t ask for help? When our sin simply stinks? When He is training us and will help when we call, but we ignore the teaching and support?

In Genesis 3, we see a similar example of failure to listen and obey instruction, resulting in a mess.

Adam and Eve have sinned, and as a result, the world has fallen. God told them to not eat from the tree. He gave them the instructions, but both failed to follow what He said or call on Him for guidance.

This was like my daughter in the potty training incident. Adam and Eve sought independence and did not follow their Father’s instruction.

After Adam and Eve are shamed with their sin, God calls out to them in The Garden, “Where are you?”(Genesis 3:9)

Here is a pivotal parenting moment we can learn from God. Notice that He still pursued Adam and Eve after their mess up. He called out to them and continued to instruct and love mankind. This is what I do with my daughter, and it is what God does with us.

Good parenting requires persistence. Even after a mess up.{Tweet This}

God then punishes Adam and Eve. Their disobedience results in consequences. Eve will suffer in childbearing and Adam will endure painful toil and hard work to provide for his family. (Genesis 3:16-19) Both will be exiled from the Garden.

Good parenting requires discipline.{Tweet This}

I made my daughter help me clean up her mess, as best as any two year old could. She also received a stern talk from me on listening to Mommy’s instructions. These were consequences given to help teach and remind her that poor decisions result in messy endings.

Moments of potty training will one day be seen as humorous and trivial, but the ongoing training and instruction my daughter receives from her parents will forever impact her earthly and eternal life. I want to keep my daughter from the bigger messes of life this fallen world has to offer. 

Parenting is hard.

But, we have taken on this job of raising little humans into God loving adults. We acknowledge that we will never be perfect parents, nor have perfect children. But, God is perfect, and He models perfect parenting throughout the Bible for us to learn and use. {Tweet This}. What parenting peace this brings me and I hope to you, as well!

Prayer: God, thank you for the opportunity to parent children. They are gift from You and we thank you for them. May we strive to parent after Your own example, knowing that we cannot raise our children without You. When the messes get stinky and the poor choices of our children can be seen through our disappointed eyes, it is my prayer that we remember You are a perfect parent. We can call on You to help us sift through the mess.Your Word offers council and proves to be the best parenting book that will ever be written. Just as you did with Adam and Eve, we give instruction to our children to protect and help them. If that instruction is not followed we know that discipline, forgiveness, and pursuance are what You call on us to do. We also know that we are Your children, too. You will parent us with the guidelines we see you demonstrate in the Bible.  Lord, just as we can never stop loving our children, we thank you for always loving us, even in the midsts of our messes. Amen.

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