Parenting can often be a roller coaster. When at it's best, it's a sleek, well kept ride at Disney World run by a professionally trained "cast member" who makes small talk while you wait and helps the tiniest riders off with an extended hand and a smile. At it's worst, it's more like the tilt-a-whirl at the county fair run by a carnie with a cigarette hanging between two of his three teeth, laughing as he cranks up the speed and bolts start flying off while your kid (and you) screams for mercy.
With one, you leave in a state of euphoria and can't wait to come back tomorrow to do it all over again. With the other, you aren't altogether sure you'll make it out alive and if you do, there's NO way you're coming back.
The real catch is, parenting can be both of those in the same day and you go to bed at night confused about what just happened and wondering if eating a whole sleeve of girl scout cookies was really the answer.
I've know my entire life that I wanted nothing more than I wanted to be a Mama. To hear a precious voice calling me a name that she would never call anyone else. To see your baby walking down the hall and breaking into a huge smile the moment his eyes meet yours.
And, yet. I often forget how blessed I am. I can't see past the carnie and the carnage of my tattered soul and aching feet to see that the very beings that I prayed for and begged the Lord to give me are just inches away, depending on me for everything. When I look at them through the lens of love, I realize that their dependence on me is not a yoke around my neck, as some believe, but a powerful reminder of my dependence on Him.
How I must grieve Him when I wander away, refusing to hold his hand as I head into dangerous territory. I wonder if His heart beams when I set aside time, just for Him, in my day. Is He proud when I love and serve others just the way He's taught me?
When your're facing the hard days, take a moment to let love overwhelm you. Remember the thrill of holding them for the first time. Ponder the dreams you have for them because they can't yet dream for themselves. Most of all, imagine the love your Father has for you as He watches you love them. May it open your eyes in a fresh way to the Love that you've been shown. A Love that truly understands.