this journey is my own

when i stand before the Lord,
i’ll be standing alone
this journey is my own
still i want man’s advice,
and i need man’s approval,
but this journey is my own

why would i want to live for man
and pay the highest price?
what would it mean to gain the world,
only to lose my life?

so much of what i do
is to make a good impression
this journey is my own
so much of what i say
is to make myself look better
this journey is my own

why would i want to live for man
and pay the highest price?
what would it mean to gain the world,
only to lose my life?

i have never felt relief
like i feel it right now
this journey is my own
’cause trying to please the world
it was breaking me down
it was breaking me down

now i live and i breathe
for an audience of One
now i live and i breathe
for an audience of One
now i live and i breathe
for an audience of One
’cause i know
this journey is my own

why would i want to live for man
and pay the highest price?
what would it mean to gain the world,
only to lose my life?

you can live for someone else
and it will only bring you pain
i can’t even judge myself
only the Lord can say, “well done.”
~sara groves

parenting is never easy.  well, i should say i am guessing it’s never easy, because i really only have my experience to speak from.  i have struggled with parenting since the day my kids came home.  i have spent a majority of the past three years questioning every decision i made, every word i spoke, every look i gave.  i have spent many mornings lying in bed wondering how i’d make it through the day.  what would we do all day?  where would we go?  should we go anywhere?  should we just stay home?  should i expect them to play on their own?  should i always play with them and/or direct their play?  is it okay for me to work on big projects around the house and expect them to leave me alone?  should i allow them to pitch in?  can they play in the backyard while i am in the house?  do i need to be outside with them the whole time?

once i was out of bed, i found myself on the phone throughout the day seeking advice from friends and relatives.  i just wanted to know if i was doing things the right way.  i knew others were going through similar things and i wanted their opinions.  i knew others had gone through these things before me, some many years ago, and i wanted their wisdom.  then i always needed to follow that up with a call to my husband to see if he agreed with what i was doing.

i was making myself crazy.  most of these people(except for my husband) didn’t agree with what i was doing and offered advice that was contrary to how i wanted to raise my children. they would say things like, “you’re too harsh! you have too many rules! i just have a different parenting style. i just don’t care about as many little things. you need to let them be kids.” recently(i don’t know why it took me so long) i had an amazing realization, “why am i seeking advice from these people? none of them have ever adopted any children, let alone an abused and neglected child. and most importantly, three of them at one time. how can any of them judge my parenting?”

the above song immediately came to mind. this journey is my own. i am the only one living in this situation day to day, moment to moment. i am the only one who can parent these kids the way they need to be parented. if that weren’t the case, God would have placed them somewhere else. somehow, in His divine, and i think kind of crazy, wisdom, He knew they needed to be here. i don’t understand it, but i have to trust it.

i have to trust that i am doing things the right way. sure, i’ll make some mistakes, everyone does. but for the amount of mistakes i make, i get just as many compliments, if not more. i can’t tell you how many times, yes i am bragging, we have received compliments when it comes to our children. we are frequently stopped at the grocery store, walmart, or target. people just want tell us how well behaved they think the kids are.

and one time the boys and i were getting the van’s tires balanced and rotated and an older man came over to us to tell me how much he admired my parenting. he said he had been watching us and he thought i was doing a great job and it showed in the boys and their good behavior. and another time i was desperately seeking new jeans and the poor boys had to endure me trying on 8 pair. when we left the fitting room we passed a lady who said, “i heard some good things in there. they are so blessed to have you as their mother.” wow. totally unsolicited compliments. and i appreciate them so much.

i wish that those moments trumped the bad moments. the moments when i feel like i am a total failure at parenting my children. the moments when i feel like they could have ended up with a better mother. the moments when i wish i could erase the last three years and start over, knowing what i know now.

but i have to remind myself(constantly) that things are how they are supposed to be. i am the mother my kids are supposed to have. i am parenting them the way i am supposed to parent them. and no matter what other people think, good or bad, this parenting journey is my own. and when i stand before the Lord, if i need to answer for my parenting, i’ll be standing alone. this journey is my own.

4 Comments

  • Beth

    Kirsten,
    Not that my not-a-mom-yet opinion really counts, but I would like to say that you have amazing children. Every time I see them I think how well behaved they are, and how polite and SO sweet! We have so enjoyed hearing the story of how they came to be YOUR children and just seeing you with them. I, for one, have taken notes for my parenting days!
    – Beth

  • sarah

    For what it is worth, I think you are great mom! Doing a wonderful job! I miss our talks about raising kids and totally look up to you!

  • Lori

    It took me a lot longer than you to learn this lesson. When I let go of what other people thought my entire family was a lot happier.

    Trust your gut and you will do great.

    Remember we all make mistakes. There are no perfect parents. You are doing an awesome job.

  • Brit Chambers

    I love your honesty… there are whole days here recently (we’re potty training) that I would like to erase, and I too question my ability to parent my children… did I take on too much? What in the world were we thinking!?!

    It’s a tough journey – especially when you are dealing with “our kids.” I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, but the fact that you admit that it’s not easy, and are working on ways to fix the hard parts, means you are doing a great job!

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