I find myself drawn to people who limp. You know the ones. Life has adjusted them to the reality that there are more questions than answers. They have that rode hard and put up wet look that comes from sleepless nights and pain that can’t be confined to tiny boxes.
These folks are good companions for the long haul and in parenting you are going to need a few. While the previous fifty or so years of Christian education for families has worked really hard to give us formulas for raising children and forming families; these formulas didn’t work much of the time. And in some instances they caused great harm.
“Focus on the family good”[i] is just not where most of humanity lives.
Parenting can do a number on human beings. Besides all the selfless physical care that is involved, the fact that children mirror their parents’ faults and insecurities can upend us like nothing else. There are radical joys and times when naked mole rat is the best description.
Parenting has been for me the most spiritually formational element in my life. Parenting has brought me face to face with the unending love of Jesus. Parenting has exposed my selfishness, shortsightedness, and stubbornness, I thought I had hidden neatly away. I have learned to love way more than I thought I was capable of in the way of kindness, hope, patience, and gentleness.
These are hard fought and never expressed without my own limp. I’m a limper, wrestling with God in my own formation through parenting. Limpers tend to walk in circles, going around the same topic over and over- relearning, deeper and deeper realities. Limpers are slow. We get nowhere fast and we’re usually a little lost. Oh, we’re in the right neighborhood, but we can’t keep up on the main highways.
On this parenting journey you’re going to need a few friends and my advice is to find a limper.
In fact, God chooses the limpers. “For the LORD has chosen Jacob [the Limper] for himself.”- Psalm 135:4a
You are in good company.
[i] This is not a discussion or critique on Focus on the Family. This is a reference to a certain style, perception and expectation of families.