Jan 19, 2020 • Written by Kris Petsche
Parenting: When a+b = 11 5/8ths
The following was submitted during the open call for writers from the Appleton Alliance congregation.
No, parenting does not render you incapable of doing math. However, in parenting a+b rarely equals c…but I think every new mom and dad believe that it will. Somewhere along the way we convince ourselves that if we send our kids to the right schools, only listen to Christian music, pray before bed, read the Bible every day, send our kids to Sunday school AND AWANA, and later youth group, then we will have a happy, healthy, well adjusted kid who will never question their faith.
There is rarely a+b=c in parenting. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. What does one do then? I have been where a+b =11 5/8ths more often than I would like to say. How do you keep moving forward when your kids are in a mighty struggle, and everyone else’s kids are dating the perfect Christian boy or girl, getting good grades, playing nice, don’t throw sand, don’t eat sand, and listen the first time? Well, mama, all I can say is keep moving forward. But above all, make sure you have invited the God of creation to be the One at your side urging you forward but holding your hand the whole time. He will sustain you.
And dare I even say, there will be times you will want to rip your hand out of His because you don’t trust the plan you see laid before you. You will want to change it or run in the opposite direction like Jonah. But know He really does know best. He is before, behind, and right by your side in the tough stuff, the yucky stuff, and the stuff you never in a million years would have wanted to walk through.
How do you get to where you entrust your hand and your life to Him? You spend time in the Word even when it is hard. You reach out to a friend that you know you can trust. You pray, and you pray some more. And you cry. As I have done all of the above, I have found that God is a trustworthy Father. He is good when I am not. He is faithful when I am faithless. He believes in me when I have to cry out “I believe, forgive my unbelief”. He is big enough for all of that.
While this journey and the 11 5/8ths part of it were not my first choice, they have made me who I am.
I look at other parents in a different light— I have been way less judgmental of others as they parent because, good grief, life is too short for that. I have been the one being judged and it isn’t fun. Why would I ever do the same to a sweet sister in Christ who is doing the best that she can with what God is leading her through? Instead of judging her, I’d rather come along beside her, encourage her, and let her know that the journey is hard, but oh so worth it because she will look more like Christ on the other side.
So, as we move forward in this parenting journey, it is important to remember that a=b does not always equal c. If it did, why would we need a Savior to help us along? I hope and pray you aren’t in 11 5/8ths land, but if you are, I pray that you keep moving forward with God at your side and the assurance that He will lead you through.