Steady on

I’ve noticed that the most frustrating moments of parenting tend to come when I’m not seeing progress, when I’m addressing the same issue for the 6th time or the 12th time or the 27th time, when it seems a child isn’t listening or isn’t learning or isn’t thinking. At times like those, my frustration wells up and oozes out, and suddenly my reaction is way bigger than the heap of laundry stuffed under the bed, and way louder than the whining kid in front of me.

What’s going on in my head at those moments is hopelessness, at least on a small scale. I’m fearing that the kid in front of me will be whining instead of working when they’re 27– and consequently be unable to hold a job. That honesty and kindness will be virtues that pass a child by– making future relationships difficult. Or that their eyes will be forever blind to blessings–making true joy in life impossible.

Dark thoughts, those, and not always logical ones. No wonder they leave me feeling desperate to ‘fix’ the child. Now.

On Sunday our pastor spoke from Hebrews and gave me a new insight into that struggle of mine. Because it is mine as much as it is my children’s.

When I am frustrated, it is usually because I’m getting bogged down expecting a certain result in a certain amount of time.  When my idea of a timeline goes by the wayside– again–  I feel like I’ve failed, which makes it harder for me to relate to my kids in an encouraging way.  But really the result– and the timing of that result– is up to God.

Those verses in Hebrews 13 reminded me that I need to focus on the God of Peace, the one who promised to equip me for the work that He has given me, for as long as that work takes.  He promises to give me everything I need.  Sure, I need to make sure I’m headed in the right direction.  But then I just need to steady on, hold the course, abide in His peace. Teach and remind and and love and hold out the standard and dole out consequences as needed, letting loose of any ideas of how long this teaching should take.   Trusting that the victory will come.


Not today, oh impatient one.


Maybe not even 5 years from now. (Five of my kids are 11 and under, after all).


Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Have faith.

Steady on.

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  1. my eyes are welling up with tears…this is exactly where my heart and life circumstances are at this point

  2. Thanks Mary. Been having a LOT of those moments lately. My overreaction is so embarrassing sometimes… and I too see my 5yo whining at his first job… ~;-) Thanks again.

  3. Katie Bell says:

    Thank you for this. It is exactly what I needed to hear today.

  4. You’re so right. He gives us everything we need-we just need to remember the patience to wait for Him!

  5. hmmm, were you somehow able to peek into my homeschool “classroom” this morning. The one with only ONE small 2nd grade child, that I should have been able to handle? I needed the reminder… thanks!

  6. Thank you. I needed to hear that today.

  7. Thanks for this great reminder. 🙂 My son is only one, but I also get frustrated when I’ve told him (& spanked him) ten times not to do something…and he looks me in the face & does it again! But, yeah, I know it’s God’s work, and that’s great to keep in mind. 🙂

  8. Amen. =)

  9. Oh, I so understand this… goodness yes. I have to just hand it over to God.

  10. Thank you so much for this encouraging word…I can tell you I really needed to hear it!

  11. Ditto to all the previous commenters. I needed to hear/read EXACTLY this today! Thank you, thank you, thank you! And, thank you again! 🙂 God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?

  12. This post describes my feelings, and my struggles from deep within my heart. Wow! Somebody understands me and knows my struggle personally! Thank you!

  13. I am guessing that at the core attachment is what you are talking about in this post. I am a 36 year old working out my own attachment issues in therapy. Oh, it is hard. It feels right to me when you talk about letting go and trusting – God, yourself and your child. As someone working out attachment from the child perspective, I can imagine that as you come back to trusting yourself that it will make it easier for your child to trust you, too. I may be totally projecting, but your child probably does just want to trust you so that they can build within themselves trust for themselves and ways to work out their emotions with your help.

    As I have been on my therapy journey one of the things that has SHOCKED me about the whole process is how when my emotions calm within me and I become what I call “attachable”, my cognitive abilities also increase. I have always been pretty smart, but now things are a whole lot easier. This means that I can remember data a lot better. It also means that I am better able to work out what’s wrong when I feel bad (like I need to take allergy medicine or turn on the air conditioner at night so I can go back to sleep). I wonder if your children are also struggling cognitively as I have.

    I have no idea of what I have said is truly applicable to what you are writing here or not. At least, please know that your care about attachment issues and all that you have written over at your Ethiopian Adoption Blog have really helped me along with my journey. Thank you.

  14. Heather, I have no doubt that is some of what we are dealing with here. Thanks so much for your insight and your willingness to share it.
    Wishing you every good thing,

  15. Thank you for the reminder that it’s God and not I in control, because at the moment it feels like all control is gone. I’m struggling with teenagers and letting go, and it’s vital that I remember that God loves them even more than I do.

  16. Mary, dear friend, I think I’m following along in your journey. I called on you during one of my darkest hours in parenting one of my newly home children. Every day brings new wisdom, insight and, often, struggles of intense proportions. I daily wonder how I am going to help her navigate her way to adulthood whilst maintaining our family rules and expectations which, i must say, are kind and flexible. God has to be my co-pilot: there’s no one else who can understand.

  17. I needed this reminder.

  18. I’m going back through your archives, so this is the first time I’ve seen this post (it’s now October), but I really needed to read this today. I have been so blessed to be an at-home mom for much of the past year, but am having to return to work due to financial reasons. I have had difficulty finding work that meets all of our needs and allows for nights and weekends home with my family, so I feel utterly frustrated and discouraged sometimes. I am so grateful for the verse you’ve provided to meditate on. Thank you so much!