Parenting

Don’t Underestimate the Significance of Your Calling as a Parent

I fell asleep a little earlier than usual last night. After a long and stressful day at work, I was beat. I said bedtime prayers individually with each of my daughters, and then I fell asleep before my head even settled on the pillow. A couple of hours later I woke suddenly, and keeping quiet I gazed upon my eleven year old preparing for bed. I watched in a sleepy joy while she read from a kid’s devotional book I had bought for her, and then while she proceeded to read from her Bible. I fell back asleep, contentment carrying me to dreamland.

My husband and I recently had a conversation about the amazing plan God must have for one of our children. How else could we explain the course our lives had taken?! We both carried pasts that were the whispers in church circles. An addict and alcoholic having a baby?! But God’s Grace had won. I tried to commit suicide by hanging as a child, but the poorly constructed noose didn’t work. My husband had a horrific car wreck as a young man, unrestrained, that left him without front teeth, but somehow no other injuries. When he awoke in the wreckage, he had been misplaced from the crushed-in driver’s seat, to the less impacted passenger side. And these are just a couple of our miraculous survival stories. Our past problems caused us to live individual, high-risk lifestyles, but in His mercy we were protected from our own stupidity.

As a teenager, new to the faith, I had known Ben was going to be my husband. I wasn’t very confident yet in my ability to hear God’s voice, but I never doubted he was the one. The problems and roadblocks of the world would separate us. For ten years, even! But somehow what God meant to place together, no man could keep apart. In my thirties, I finally married the man I knew at nineteen God had for me.

I could drone on and on how I believe my current path was meant to be, but I’ll spare you any further details. The point is, I have seen the hand of God in my life time and time again. So has my spouse. We consider each of our children a gift from God, and we have no doubt that the Lord has wonderful plans for their lives.

My husband used to own his own business, and he even built rockets once upon a time. But during this season, he is a homemaker. He homeschools our children and does about a billion other important tasks at home, while I serve in the role of primary and sole breadwinner. Albeit untraditional, this works wonderfully for our family. I think some men might tend to feel unfulfilled in their role as a stay-at-home dad. Not simply because society has deemed it a woman’s place over the years, but because, let’s face it; full-time parenting is hard! I’ve been in his position, and it’s crazy, hectic homeschooling multiple young ones. There’s one thing that he’s done that makes it fit him so much better than it did me, though. He understands his calling.

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One day, a couple of years ago, my husband commented, “God told me today that what I’m doing is important.”

As simple as that. The encouragement of the Holy Spirit gave my man peace and purpose. We knew that financially we were doing what made sense, but budget balancing won’t fill your heart with purpose. The Spirit drives my spouse to parent well, and his determination and commitment are seen in the fruit of our babies.

It’s easy to see parenting as a chore. It’s work! It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love. It’s moments of ridiculous frustration mixed with moments of surpassing joy. It’s a love/hate relationship that you’d never let go. It’s the thing you need a break from, but also the thing you miss the second it’s gone. It’s a journey of perseverance, a practice in patience, and somehow humbling to how little we know. What we tend to forget, is that it’s also a great task for the Kingdom of God. As parents, we hold in our hands the ability to mend, but also to break. We have to be intentional to keep the damage to a minimum, and passionate to cultivate a loving environment of acceptance and success. We love our children as Jesus loved us; not for what we receive in return. The greatest gift we can give our babies is the heart of Jesus. This unconditional love that carries the fruits of the Spirit. Thankfully, perfection isn’t required, just the ability to show them the perfection that exists in Jesus, and that is there for their taking within them, as His perfect love resides there. This is the calling.

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Brie Gowen
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Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She’d love for you to check out her blog at BrieGowen.com.

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