mother daughter

The demands of caring for the tiny (and eventually not-so-tiny) humans entrusted to us by our Creator can leave us feeling as if we've been thrown into a pit of exhaustion we'll never climb out of. But like a strong arm reaching over the edge, here are eight promises backed by God's Word that have the muscle to pull us up.

God has a special place in His heart for parents.

God invented parenthood, and what God creates, He cares for. God sees us both as parents and His children, and His heart toward us is relational and tender. Throughout scripture, God often helps us know who He is and what He does through a parenting lens. He does not forget us: "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" (Isaiah 49:15). He lavishes good gifts on us: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11). He has compassion for us: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).

You do not have to parent today on yesterday's strength.

The physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional strength to do the divinely ordained work of parenting is not a lump sum God hands us when our children come into the world and then expects us to ration out for the rest of their lives. God is big on us trusting Him one day at a time because He is big on faith, and step-by-step dependence requires more dedication than having God's provision tucked away in a spiritual bank account we can withdraw from at will.

There are a few of the references in God's manual for living that indicate His desire and his design that we should lean on Him each day for sustenance for our bodies, minds, and souls. Exodus 16:4 says, "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.'" Psalm 68:19 also reminds us, "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens."

God will show you the way to go.

Many tasks in life are more exhausting to do the first time you do them, and parenting is one perpetual study in doing things for the first time. But God loves and cares about our children even more than we do (impossible as it is to get our minds around that fact at times), so He is ready, willing, and able to show us the way to go.

Ask God what He thinks, otherwise known as prayer. Be aware of holy nudges. These are Holy Spirit twinges in our mind or an emotional sore tooth that keeps pinging, either steering us further down a path or halting us before taking another step. Carefully consider God's Word on the matter. The antiquity of scripture does not diminish its present authority or applicability.

Draw from the wisdom of caring counselors. Mature friends of faith, trustworthy clergy members, teachers of truth - God can use all these human pillars to lead us along. Expect God's confirmation. Our loving heavenly Father wants us to know His will. It's not as if He's clutching it to Himself, shrouding it from us and hoping we won't guess what it is. Earnestly seek His direction—and then wait in the confident expectation that He will give it.

This work that's so exhausting is eternally significant.

As parents, it might feel like what we're doing day in and day out is tying shoes and wiping noses and helping with homework and battling bedtimes and driving someone somewhere and making meals and cleaning up and waiting up. But what we're doing is raising sons and daughters who will love well because they were well-loved.

This work occurs today within our homes, but it carries the hope of changing hearts beyond our homes. "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

God will never abandon you or turn His back on you.

Even when we feel too worn out to reach for God, He calls for us. He promises never to leave us or forsake us. The original Greek in Hebrews 13:5 has five negatives, a fistful of reassurance that as parents and as people, we need not fear the absence of His presence.

One of the loveliest descriptions of God in all of His Word is as our "resting place": "This is the resting place, let the weary rest" (Isaiah 28:12). But scripture also provides us a cautionary tale about where we should find our rest: "My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their resting place" (Jeremiah 50:6).

We may shy away from allowing our children to witness us in our depletion and our dependence. Still, when our children see our weakness and also see us inviting God's strength to be fully realized in it, we help them lay a foundation of trust in God they can build on for the rest of their lives.

No one ever said being a parent was easy. Parenting certainly comes with more than its fair share of forgetting; foggy brains and muddled minds go with the sleep-deprived, mentally-overloaded territory. But if only we will not forget our resting place. If only we will cling to the promises of God's Word and respond to His open invitation: "let the weary rest."
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