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I’ve been having lots of conversations with our oldest lately…about life, about God, about why we parent the way we do.  I told her that as she grows up, she’s going to look at the way we’ve raised her, see the mistakes we’ve made, and hopefully understand that we’ve done the best that we can.  I told her that she can be brutally honest with me about how she feels towards God.  For a pastor’s kid who goes to a Christian school, that’s important.

I wish I could share so much more from those talks here, but I want to respect her story and her journey and let her share it in her own time, when she’s ready.  What I will say is that I wish someone had told me all of these things.  I’m sitting here at 36 and I’m able to say that I really do know my parents did the best they could.  I know they loved me, and they still do.  They weren’t perfect, and now as a mom, I understand just how aware they are of their own mistakes.  So I accept the good and the bad and claim it as my story and know that God is able to use it all.  And that is where the peace enters in.

If I’m going to give my kids space to be honest about God, that forces me to do the same.  I can’t take them to a place I know nothing about.  I can tell them that He is big enough for all of their hurt and all of their disillusionment because He has been for me.  Our kids have known great hurt in their lives, so the whole “it’s all part of His plan” line isn’t such an easy pill to swallow for them.  It’s not that it’s not true, but He’s much more complex in their lives than He is even to some adults.  So if He’s so good, why is this part of His plan?  Holding space for them to ask those questions has made me ask those questions.  When your child hurts, you hurt.  No easy answers over here, but a God big enough to handle whatever is thrown at Him?  You bet.

I used to wish parenting was easier, that there was a formula that guaranteed positive results.  I see now that these conversations are where parenting really gets good.  They’re hard to fight for some days, when I’ve yelled and she’s yelled and all I’ve done is mess up.   It’s all grace, isn’t it?  That even when we’ve made a mess, He can make it good.