Am I a perfect parent? Absolutely not! The dictionary definition of ‘perfect’ is being ‘absolute’ or ‘complete’. Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics: as good as it is possible to be. Finally, to make (something) completely free from faults or defects; make as good as possible. So in reality, with this definition in mind; who is ‘perfect’ or who is a ‘perfect parent’?
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The Fear of Parenting
My greatest fear when finding out that I would become a parent, unmarried and out of wedlock; was can I even be the parent my child needs? For me, she wasn’t being born into the ‘perfect situation. Not a situation I wanted, welcomed or even wanted to go through. I was a single Mother, unmarried and lonely
Three days before I gave birth to my daughter, and I cried out to God; I was distraught with the reality of my situation. Through my tears I said to God ‘Father if you help me raise this child, I will serve you for the rest of my days’. All I could see was my weaknesses. Can you relate?
Do you remember that feeling of when you found you were pregnant? When you brought your newborn baby home? Or those sleepless nights because of this little human being? Having to deal with a challenging teenager? Although we are gifted with such a beautiful gift of children, we have moments when faced with challenges we may feel inadequate and like the situation is more than us.
There are millions of parents in this world who have had often had different childhood experiences, which often influences the kind of parent they become. Being attentively and appropriately loved by your parent may make you an attentive and attune parent. Or being exposed to different dysfunction or traumatic parental experiences may result in you repeating some of these habits as a parent.
The Hope of Jesus in our Imperfection
Can I tell you, that there is hope!
A Father in Heaven who is the best and most perfect parent. Our God! A God that is known as: ‘Elohim’ “our creator, mighty and strong”(Genesis 17:7), ‘El Shaddai’ “God almighty” (Genesis 49:24), “Adonai” “Our Lord” (Genesis 15:2), and “Yahweh-Jireh” “The Lord will provide”. He has many other names that describe who He is. A God that gives good gifts to those that ask him (Matthew 7:11). God our ‘judge’ and our ‘Father’ which describes being tough when necessary, for the good of His children. Our support system through the help of the Holy Spirit and a great comforter.
We must realize that everything God does is for our benefit, He is Sovereign and had our lives planned out before we were conceived. God is raising a family. He is training us and encouraging us as we grow. Our destiny is to be more like Jesus Christ.
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Matthew 5:48 ESV
Jesus the Perfect Example
You may have come across the above scripture before. ‘Be perfect’? Really? Be without flaws on all occasions? How is this possible?
Can I submit to you that by following Jesus as your perfect example would be the best decision you have ever made? Jesus provided us with a new relationship, a perfect example, and by following our perfect example; we are provided with a whole-life transformation! The Greek word for ‘prefectus’ is defined a little differently. “Be rounded, be whole, be complete as God is.” So, are we being encouraged to received wholeness found in Jesus? With all our cracks and parental imperfections. It’s good to be aware of our weaknesses and imperfections so that God’s glory can shine all the more powerfully.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
One of my favorite books on this topic is "Real Moms, Real Jesus." Jill Savage is the author and she tooks a honest and hard looks at how Jesus knows and understands all our struggles as mothers.
Qualities of an Ideal Parent
So, if there is no perfect parent, is there qualities of an 'ideal' parent. Romans reminds us,
As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;Romans 3:10
In light of the fact that perfection is out of the question, where do we turn when we are seeking to be the best parent possible? It may seem like the 'Sunday School' answer, but the truth is that we daily need to turn to Jesus and preach the Gosepel to ourselves.
We will still make mistakes. There will be hard days ahead, but when we are relying on Christ for our strength, you will find peace in your parenting journey.
What are 5 qualities of a good parent?
Of course, we can't leave the practical steps out of this.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
'Gentle parenting' is one of the latest tends that claims that a peaceful and positive approach to all circumstances of parenting will lead to the best possible relationship with your children. Although gentle parenting has a lot of good qualities that are worth looking into, the philosophy misses the mark on one important part. How do we know if we are a effective and good parent?
Is it is we have a good relationship with our children? No. Is it if they are a good perfect once they turn 18? No.
At the end of our parenting we want our children's affections and life to reflect a love for God and a submission to his Word.
Sometimes that means taking a gentle apprach to parenting, others times it might mean beating them with a Bible. NO, I'm joking! However, my point is that the Bible has some pretty harsh stories in it, and although we are not called to be a judge in the life of our children, we are called to bring them back to truth, no matter how hard that truth is to understand.
If you are looking for qualities of a good parent, start with the fruits of the spirit.
- Patience (forbearance)
No Perfect Parent
My prayer has been daily ‘Lord as you have given me my daughter, help me to parent her every day’. I am aware of all of who I am, but I see every day how the Lord helps me so while caring for my daughter. All I do is ask Him! He “takes care of me and will supply all my needs” (Philippians 4:19). Not all my wants. My needs. Thank you, Jesus! Just the simple example given in Matthew 6:26-27 of our heavenly Father taking care of the birds of the air. How much more of us!
Ultimately let's meditate on:
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.2 Thessalonians 3:3
All you Need for your Child
My Daughter has a little doll she calls ‘Pinky’. During bedtime recently, I watch as she picked up Pinky, cuddled her and put the doll on her bed. ‘Good night’ Pinky as she whispered into the little doll's ear. She kissed her doll and cuddled it before she fell asleep. At 20 months she is at the age of repeating what she sees me do. Recently, the Lord had put on my heart the importance of talking to my daughter and kissing her before bed. She now does this with her doll. Witnessing her doing this had encouraged me that the Lord is indeed helping me every day.
There is no perfect parent, but there is a very perfect God! He desires to save you, restore you, and be all you need for your child. God will help you in all your weakness, your strengths, and your abilities. Jesus will remind you of what His word says, encourage you when needed and convict your heart for change. So come to his throne of Grace, with a repentant and grateful heart; for what He has already done for you and your children.
A Little More about the Author
Kelechi is the creator of her rejected truth blog, a Women's Bible Study group in the UK called 'Ekklesia Women's Study and she organizes regular Women social event called 'Pop Up Ladies socials'