As if our hearts weren’t hurting enough for the families in Orlando on last week at this time, we felt a complete ripping of sorts when we learned of the incident of the child being taken by the alligator with his family just a few steps away. Thanks to the advancement of technology, people from all over the world have the opportunity to make a determination about one’s entirety of parenting based upon a few fleeting moments. For me, I wish they would kick rocks! Parenting ain’t no joke! And if you have ever been on the receiving end of being responsible for a child, I’m certain you can understand where I’m coming from. As I watched the news in horror, just after moving the memory of the child in the gorilla’s area from my spirit, I am grateful first to have my offspring still walking around given the events I had to navigate as a parent. First, the daughter carried a cloth diaper around with her everywhere. Once in the airport when she was about two or three, she elected unbeknownst to me to place her diaper on the conveyer belt while going through the security checkpoint. As she reached to grab it, the diaper got stuck, and her hand was burned in the process. Her screams of agony made me whisk her away – and the fact that we were going to miss our flight. I still sigh when I see the two lighter markings on her hand to this very day. There was also the febrile seizure that she had that somehow I convinced myself that I held the neurological reins to. There was the decision to allow her to get a perm too early in life. Oh, and the acceptance of a great career movement for me, but a horrible movement for her to another school, in another city. Further, the decision to move back a few years later, and perhaps a more hands-off approach in the college selection process – and I could go on. Suffice to say, there were many times that I felt that I was ill prepared to be responsible for another human being. But God.
The point is, parents carry enough guilt without the assistance of anyone else. We do the best we can with the information we have. We gently blink and children put dinner up their nose. We attempt to extend a bit of independence and it backfires on us. However, our love doesn’t diminish – instead, if anything, it intensifies even the more. With each passing year, we deviate between excitement about their aging, and anxiety because of the same phenomena. The older they become, the stronger the potential for them to be out of our care – out of our sight – but definitely not out of our mind.
Our heavenly father feels the same. We are always on his mind. Imagine how he feels when occurrences have unfolded in our lives and others elect to be judge and jury in response. People, who live alongside us on this earth with no knowledge of the intricate details that we battle and survive daily – in our minds, our bodies and our actions are often the first responders – and not in a positive manner to affirm life, but instead offer the gurney for us to be carried out on. However, Romans 7:21 provides somewhat of an understanding, “I have discovered this principle of life–that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” Yet, our Lord is gracious enough to not leave us in isolation as he affirms earlier in the same book, in Romans 5:8 that, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” When the people on the sidelines have more to say than the folks in the actual race, we must develop the stamina to power on through the joy of the Lord, which is our strength.
We were never meant to live perfectly – but we can attempt to love in such a way that we love through a perfect God. Even the smallest commentary can cause someone to internally retreat and not in a healthy way. We must recall that Proverbs 18:21 tells us that life and death is in the power of the tongue. Our words can heal just as well as destroy. Consider this, the enemy has been successful enough in his recruitment strategies. Why not employ your skills, your talent, your God given gifts to uplift rather than tear down? People that are hurting can certainly use your encouragement and affirmation. I don’t know about pimpin’ – but I do know about parenting. It ain’t easy – but through God it’s not only doable but its worth it. Before we condemn, let us first ask, how we may assist. And the world will be a better place (Jackie Deshannon).