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  • Writer's picturekara-duncan

Parenthood Makes Us Stronger

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I remember a time when Denis and I went to a new gym by our house. With our new membership we had access to one complimentary session with a trainer. My goal was to get stronger physically so a lot of my time in the session was spent on learning various strength training machines and dumbbell exercises. I recall one exercise in particular was a dumbbell exercise that worked on my triceps. Apparently, it was a weak and underused muscle because my arm shook like a leaf in the wind when moving the dumbbell up and down. It was an area that I was determined to get stronger over time.

In a similar way that exercising makes us stronger, I would say that parenthood makes us stronger too. I’ve known other Moms who because of Parenthood they have lost weight to better keep up with their active kids. I’ve known Dads who have started eating healthier so that they could remain healthy for their families. I’ve known Moms who have stopped unhealthy drinking habits so that they could be present for their kids.

Parenthood calls us to be an example. Once you begin to have little eyes on your every move you realize that your actions speak much louder than your words. Parenthood raises the bar on our actions and deeds.

Even our emotions are exercised. As a parent you’re now not only called to exercise healthy emotions for yourself, but you’re called to help be a safe place where your little one’s emotions can be regulated, and their skills can be learned.

Even the act of bringing a child into this world is an act of strength. For a woman it’s one of the most painful yet rewarding experiences she’ll encounter. For a man it’s a crucial moment when the call of Fatherhood begins, and he’s called to lead his family. Adoption is a strength building event; walking through some of the deepest emotions and doing some of the hardest heart work one can do.

Parenthood calls us to further define and articulate our faith. What will be chosen to teach them and involve them in? What roots will we help them plant? How will we continue to deepen our faith as we also intentionally involve our children in a faith that we hope to pass on to them throughout their life?

Parenthood is also the most humbling role that someone will have. Even from the start. As a new parent to a baby, you quickly try to figure out and master the basics - feeding, sleeping and diaper changes. And then the moment you’ve got that figured out they grow and change, and a new challenge presents itself. I remember declaring six months into parenthood that it’s like constant troubleshooting with little to no information. You just seem to go from moment to moment; milestone to milestone doing the best you know how. No one’s got parenthood perfectly figured out. (And if they claim to do so, it causes me concern.)

But the beautiful thing about being humbled is that it’s the very place that I’m made stronger. It’s when I admit that I need help and can’t do it on my own, that I’m open to receiving help. And the biggest source of help comes from my faith in God. In God I find the strength, patience, love and wisdom that I need as a parent. My continued reliance on God throughout parenthood allows me to further strengthen and shape my faith.

1 Timothy 4:8-10 puts it this way, “‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.’ This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.”

Just as I needed that trainer at the gym to show me how I specifically needed to get stronger, so I also need God to guide and direct my steps in all areas of life, including motherhood. I’ve come to continue to trust that I can’t parent without someone bigger than myself.

So, here’s to all parents out there. I raise my coffee cup to acknowledge your journey. I’m inspired by your courage to continue to grow and develop in an effort to parent to the best of your ability. It’s not easy on our own, but together, with God’s strength, guidance and wisdom we can set a strong example to our kiddos.

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