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The New Year tends to bring much reflection. One area I often reflect on is how I am doing with parenting. Being a parent is no joke. Once you think you’ve mastered something, another challenge will arise. Maybe you’re the kind of parent that just figures it all out on your own. For me, I tend to seek wisdom from solid parents and of course, my Father God. Recently, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing my awesome husband in action as a parent. Danny has been told time and again what a good kid Noel is, how he’s so well behaved, and that Danny must be doing a good job. You know what? They are right. If you have the opportunity to step behind the closed doors of our little home, there is a diligent father parenting a growing boy who will one day become a man. Something that impressed me right away with Danny’s parenting is how he despises shortcuts in our home and in his life. Simply put, he is against them. When correcting Noel, he carefully explains that taking shortcuts in life, in homework, in chores, etc., leads to bad places. It cheapens things. It makes you have to go back and do it again when you were capable of doing it right the first time. His message is that shortcuts are time wasters, and boys that constantly take shortcuts will turn into men who are trying to play catch up with life.
It’s some sobering and tough stuff, but it’s good stuff. It gets me thinking about our Father God and how He really wants us to get it, and get it right. If we don’t He still corrects and loves on us, putting us back on our feet to try again. God’s guidance, or parenting if you will, teaches us about the process of selflessness and living for His kingdom and not our own. Jesus was and is that ultimate example showing us that every single part of the process was necessary, and there were no shortcuts to the cross. All of it, every step of the way, from being a baby born in a manger, to a student learning in the synagogues, to being raised by His parents, being baptized and sent out to minister, to the miracles, the betrayal, the lonely road to Golgotha, the death, burial and resurrection, all of it. He made every step and He didn’t take shortcuts. He didn’t leave anything out. He did it for us. He was showing us that doing things right, and fully, is the way of life, it is the way of love. It is complete.
I think about the ways that God was watching me, knowing there were times when He wanted me to stay on that path, but I turned and took a shortcut. Or the moments when He wanted me to just sit a little longer with Him in His presence, and I got up. I took shortcuts. I walked away from the process. I was living selfish, knowing within that the process brings the promise of love; “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:6 (NIV)
When I feel like something isn’t fair, and it’s all taking too long, and I don’t want any moment of suffering, I remember my ultimate example of the man who took the selfless, long, narrow road for you and me. He would not skip one step, because He loves us so. So here’s my prayer, “Lord, help me be the parent you have called and created me to be. Let me stay on your path because I am your daughter and child, and you love me so. Let me walk this road the way you want me to. Let me bring others with me on this journey. When I forget my way and want to take a shortcut, remind me that it’s pure selfishness to do this. So give me more of you. You are so selfless. You are the only perfect parent, and I’m glad you’re my father, Amen.”