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The Myth of Perfect Parenting

The Myth of Perfect Parenting

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

For anyone who has a child, the thought of perfect parenting elicits a range of emotions, from hope to discouragement to outright terror.

We all hope we’ll be good parents, but most of us expect to fail in some ways. And every parent I’ve ever spoken with lives in fear of being such a bad parent they mess up their child permanently.

As I took my fear of parenting failure to God, He reminded me that He wasn’t like the animated stork that I’d seen in the Bugs Bunny cartoons I watched on Saturday mornings growing up.

He NEVER delivered the wrong baby to the wrong parents.

He chose my husband and I as parents for our boys before the beginning of time. And He did it knowing the mistakes we’d make, as well as the parts we’d get right. He used us, good and bad, to help shape our kids as they grew. Truthfully, God chose us as parents as much for our weaknesses as for our strengths. I’d never thought of this verse in the context of parenting before.

Does that absolve us of guilt where we’ve been wrong? Absolutely not. But it gives me a hint that perhaps God is true to His word and can bring good out of bad.

The other thing He shared with me was the fact that perfect parents don’t guarantee perfect kids. I could have done every single thing right as a mother and because of free will, any of my sons could have chosen the wrong path.

How do I know this is true? Because God is perfect and look how we turned out. He did everything right, but we still chose to go our own way.

So when you look back (or ahead) as a parent, remember that your child’s future isn’t in your hands. God’s got this, and He always has.

Dear Lord, more than anything I want to be a good parent—the exact right parent for my child. But I fall so short. I know this doesn’t surprise you. You know my mistakes before I even make them. Sometimes I wonder how you could ever entrust my children to me—and yet you have done just that. Help me to be the kind of parent my child needs.

Show me how to apologize and ask forgiveness when I mess up. Don’t let my fear of failure trick me into arrogance and an unwillingness to admit when I’m wrong. Let me see proof that my poor parenting choices haven’t wounded my child for life. Remind me that You are bigger than any mistakes I can make.

Most of all continue to teach me how to be a better parent. Don’t ever let me become complacent or feel like I’ve arrived. Walk closely beside me and guide me as I shepherd my child into adulthood. Amen.

By: Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including Soul Care When You’re Weary & While My Child is Away: Prayers for When We’re Apart. Married to her high school sweetheart, Kirk, they live in the upstate of South Carolina and have raised three sons. Connect with her on through Twitter and Facebook.

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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