In my own journey as a parent, I have been very out of sorts with how to move forward in a world that is quickly framing right as wrong, and wrong as right.
This was impressed on me today. I believe that God would have me understand the challenges that I face with my children in a new light. I wrote this in a way that I could read out loud. I hope this brings hope to you as it has for me:
I am equipped to handle things that others are not. God will not surround me or my children with perfect scenarios no matter how much my heart desires it. My marriage is about as good as it can be. I would like to protect it with every fiber of my being, which naturally drives me to do the same for my children. "Their lives would be better if..." "Their lives more enjoyable if..."
But every direction I turn my head I see how far life is from ideal. Understanding that God allows evil in the world, I have to believe that He is not more pleased with ideal than he is with real. He is pleased when I strive toward wholeness. I never fully arrive, so he must be satisfied with my desire to strive. I live in a fallen world and I will never reach perfection. There will always be something - someone - ME - in the way of becoming fully alive. It's this way on purpose. If it were any other way, I would not need a savior.
As for my children: no matter how much I want to protect them, life will inevitably show its dark side. To purpose to avoid it is to deny them of the opportunity to figure out how to stand tall in a broken world. God will uniquely draw out of them just as he did for me.
Do not resent imperfection. It is God's will on earth. In his will there has and always will be tension. Without tension, there is no redemption. Premature ache for what will be causes deeper ache than is necessary.
When joy is present, preserve it. Hang on to it for as long as you can. Too soon life will rear its ugly head of tragedy or heartbreak, and you'll need to find joy again.
Live in joy. If only in the smallest sense, fixate on it, until it becomes an increasing awareness. Find joy in scenarios that are far from what you understand or are comfortable to deal with. God trusts you with something that no one else can fulfill.
When you do not know how to respond to the challenging situations of today, keep in mind that this may be the start of a new chapter in your children. This is powerful, scary, and incredibly overwhelming, but I have to believe, just as He did for me - just as he did for us all - He will keep and protect my kids.