Monday, October 13, 2014

Things I've learned about God since becoming a parent

So, I know I can't really fully understand my Heavenly Father and what He goes through at this time; But I think I can say with some confidence that being a parent has given me some insight into His life that I never would have had otherwise. And I feel for Him. So much. And I fully believe in His divinity and infallibility, because only an infallible Father could deal with the things He's dealt with and not give into the temptation to just blow up the entire planet and be done with it all (and forget about sending out another "ark" first).

Some things I've learned about God since becoming a parent...

He feels responsible for us. He created us. I wonder sometimes if he regrets that decision. Then immediately reprimands himself for daring to entertain such a thought! I wonder if he ever lies awake nights (figuratively speaking) worried sick over the things we've said and done. How he's tried and tried to comfort us and help us and how we never seem to listen, but He keeps trying anyway because it's his job. 

We are always on His mind. Always. 

He really can see things more clearly than we can. As a parent myself, even with my own limited understanding, I will always have a longer perspective on life than my children. I can see the potential their choices and actions may hold for the future so much more clearly than they can. Even if God weren't omniscient (though I believe he is), he still has a far superior perspective on our lives than we do, and we'd be a whole lot better off listening to his counsel than that of our peers here on Earth. Earthly parents may err in their judgement, but he won't.

He is our biggest fan. I think many people tend to think of God as a chastising, critical, punishing kind of God. Sure, sometimes he has to chastise us. But even moreso he is out there cheering us on through our challenges. He throws a party every time we make a good choice. He brags about us to his other God friends when we endure and overcome.

It is His job to chastise us, but He doesn't enjoy it. Sure he would much rather see us all happy and contented and enjoying life. But there is no growth in that. God knows that we won't be "children" forever, that someday we will have to grow up and move out, and it's his job to prepare us for that day. And that means correcting our mistakes now so that we don't have to make them later, when there's no one else to turn to for comfort and guidance.

Sometimes He has to entrust others to take care of us. When I send my son off to school in the morning, I realize that I have very little control over what happens to him while he is away. I hope his teachers will be firm but gentle, that his classmates will be kind to him and that he will be kind to them. If he gets hurt on the playground, I won't be there to comfort him, but I hope someone else will be. If he drops his lunch all over the cafeteria floor, I pray someone will be charitable enough to share theirs. It is not God's job to raise up the broken-hearted, to feed the hungry, to recover the lost soul...That is our job. He inspires the goodness in us, but it is up to us to act.

He expects obedience, but He also knows when to let us make our own choices-- and our own mistakes. He gives us the scriptures, prophets, spiritual inspiration and guidance. But he doesn't make our choices for us. He's not the one who grows from our making mistakes and learning from them-- we are. He's not the one who benefits when we make a good choice-- we are.  What a gift he has given us!

He is the first to notice when we struggle, and the first to respond with open arms when we cry for aid. When one of my children is struggling, I notice. But I don't always run right away to help him. There is a value in letting my child sort through his own problems as much as he can before I intervene. I will know it is time to help when he asks for it. And when he does ask for it, I am there immediately (except, as mentioned before, when I can't be there and I have to trust someone else to take care of him). Sometimes my "help" may be simply a word of encouragement, a hug, a helping hand, or a full-on dragging out of the situation, depending on the severity of the challenge and my kid's capacity to cope. As attuned as I am to my childrens' needs, however, my attention pales in comparison to God's. There is never a moment when he is not mindful of our struggles. Even when they are the result of our own stupidity and stubbornness, he may let us tread water on our own for a while first to learn from the experience, but he will always provide a way for us to get out and move on when we pray for his help.

He is happy when we share, and devastated when we fight. I just sympathize with God a lot on this one. When my children are in conflict with each other, it breaks my heart-- not to mention my peace of mind. But when I witness them sharing, being kind to each other, forgiving each other, encouraging each other, then my whole soul sings! These are the moments that make the daily parenting struggle worth it. And I'm sure God would agree.

He wants us to surpass Him. That's right. One conclusion I've come to as a parent, is that while I try my best, I am far from perfect; and I hope and pray every day that somehow my children can grow up to be even better people than I am. Well, God may already be perfect, but he still has the highest of hopes and expectations for us. To be like him someday, at least, but if possible to be even better.

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