Pride? Who, me? Yeah, right. If the truth be told, my toes are hurting from being stepped all over. I am very proud of my marriage and our family. People constantly tell us about the effectiveness of our skills and abilities, how wonderful our children are, what a lovely home/great life we have, and it is fantastic to receive such praise. But I am well in touch with my darker side on this issue: my criticism of others, my over-confidence in my abilities (and consequent lack of dependence on God), and other horrid fruit that I could come up with given more time.
I thought just this morning about how good we have it. On yesterday, my husband and another chaperone took a group of church youth on a field trip. It was a bit of a 3-ring circus at the church as the practice for the children’s Christmas play also began on yesterday, and the volunteers for either event tried to discern which child was under their charge. In either case, the scene was the same: parents, thrilled to have a babysitting opportunity, barely slowing down to let the kids out, and totally unwilling to do so much as budge from the car to sign a kid in or get details on pick-up time. I didn’t even mention the sheer aversion to volunteering in the first place.
So as he and I talked on last night about the state of modern-day parenting (or lack thereof), I felt that same spirit rise up again. I grew proud of the fact that we don’t push our children off, but instead probably keep them with us too much—date nights are far and few between around here. There was a time when I would have gone on and on about the immaturity of some parents, rushing into a decision to have children, but then not wanting to spend any time with them. But I’m growing in some things, too—an understanding of grace and mercy.
When we began homeschooling, I prayed, but deep down, I was very confident that with two parents with advanced degrees and two very bright kids, education at home would be a breeze. Though “breeze” would be an overstatement, it hasn’t been tough. Yet, I remember coming to some significant “air pockets” in what I thought would be smooth sailing. My daughter’s A’s weren’t a true reflection of what she actually learned; educating a wholehearted child involves far more gray matter than simply buying a book and instructing your kids to complete a page per day. Finally, trying to work with a preteen while keeping a toddler constructively occupied takes skills that I didn’t learn in business school. So, over the years, I’ve come running to God in prayer more and more as the gravity of what we’ve set out to do sinks in. I have to also add that this Bible study has been revealing for me as well as it forces me to confront how much I’ve tried to do in my own strength instead of relying on Him.
It seems as if almost weekly we’re reunited with some long-lost acquaintance who informs us of his/her recent divorce. Though not quite as frequently, we’ve had several young teens in our midst to become pregnant without being married. We know a few people whose lives have been destroyed by drug and/or alcohol abuse, and we’ve been to more funerals for people who’ve seemingly not hit their prime than I care to remember. It would be easy to look at the life I live and be full of pride. But this former Wonders Junkie is often reminded that the most spectacular miracle I see each day is the five of us, alive and healthy, with little to no day-to-day drama. Praise God.