The Lifegiving Parent

I don’t find it coincidental that one of the books I am currently reading is entitled The Lifegiving Parent by Clay & Sally Clarkson, especially in light of everything that has been going on in the news recently. The book is rich with so many truths that I’ve pretty much highlighted every single page and I often find myself having to lay the book down so I can reflect on what I’ve just read. Most of the time it’s because I am convicted about something I know in my head and then reading it just solidifies that it needs to be rooted deeply in my heart.

In the foreword…yes, I said the foreword. The part that most people skip over but shouldn’t because there’s a lot of good stuff written in there. Anyway…in the foreword, Sally writes this beautiful paragraph on what she believes a lifegiving mother is, and I can’t help but feel that what she says is how we should view children. ALL children.

“As I’ve partnered with Clay in that bigger picture, it has been my privilege to do my best to be a godly mother to our children—to nurture their faith through my love, grace, discipleship, encouragement, instruction, and inspiration. I have found purpose and meaning in trying to be the kind of mother I believe was in God’s heart at creation—a lifegiving mother, one who brings the life of God to my children. I won’t pretend it was always a wonderful journey with no difficulties, but the blessings far outweigh the burdens as I see now the influences of my life on each of my children. They are, as God promised, the blessings.” (emphasis mine)

Sally Clarkson, The Lifegiving Parent

A lot of times, I have not thought of my role as a lifegiving mother as a privilege. I seem to be perpetually stuck in the “my life was so much easier before kids” mentality. How I talk about or even treat my kids often falls more into the category of them being “burdens” rather than “blessings”. I complain about not getting enough sleep; I get annoyed when they don’t listen; I am frustrated when they need me for everything.

I’m not saying those things aren’t true. Truthfully, my kids still wake me up in the middle of the night, they don’t always listen, and they still need me for practically everything. After all, they are still kids!

I don’t need to pretend that parenting is all roses and butterfly kisses, but I also can’t help but wonder how my negative attitude about my kids might affect someone’s choice to be a lifegiving parent or not. How have I contributed to this epidemic where a child’s life is seen as a choice and not a blessing? How has my complaining spirit influenced the value that society places on the life of a child?

I’ll be the first to admit that parenting is not easy. No matter how many parenting books you’ve read or the unlimited amount of patience you thought you had, being a parent is tough. However, at the end of the day, when you tuck them in bed for what seems like the millionth time, it’s worth it. 

Every dirty diaper. Every sleepless night. Every scraped knee. Every lost toy. Every question that begins with “why”. Every tickle fight. Every snuggle. Every squishy hug. Every sticky kiss. Every “I love you”. It’s worth it because the blessings far outweigh the burdens.

Perhaps if we as parents stop focusing on how our kids can be such burdens and instead highlight all the countless ways they are blessings, we can be the encouragement someone needs to choose life for their child and be a lifegiving parent.

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