Some nights I wish I could press a magic button and my children would be in pajamas with their teeth brushed and fast asleep. The table would be cleared, dishes washed, and living room picked up as well.
If I’m honest, some days I want to push that button and clock out even earlier. In the words of a toddler, I want to be “All done!” for the day.
Seasons of parenting—of life too—can be like that.
But there is no magic button. Parenting, whether small children or teens, doesn’t work that way. And sometimes those final hours count the most.
Exhaustion and weariness are real. Temptations to escape into a phone, book, or show are real. Laziness, impatience, anger, and selfishness are real.
But as much as my flesh wants to give in, and sometimes does give in more than I want, some other things are real too.
God is real. His grace is real. And so is his reward. The reward is for not giving up.
Don’t Give Up
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Don’t give up today, don’t give up tomorrow, and don’t give up in this season.
Don’t give up putting their pajamas on and brushing their teeth. Don’t give up reading them stories, saying the prayers, tucking them into bed, or listening to their thoughts at the end of the day.
Don’t give up training, encouraging, counseling, driving, helping, guiding, coaching, feeding, or any of the things that a parent is called to do.
Why? If we don’t grow weary of doing these good things, we will reap. In this life and in the one to come.
I’m not sure what the “reaping” will look like since I’m not there yet, and it might look different for each of us, but I can imagine some of it. Maybe we will reap relationally with our kids. Maybe there will be peace in our hearts and homes. Maybe there will be satisfaction that, though not perfect, we stayed the course and did our best to raise our children to know Jesus and his love for them. Maybe there will be the sweetness of hugging our children in heaven one day.
I do know this: for everyone who follows Jesus and completes these seemingly mundane tasks in his name and for his glory, the greatest reward is Jesus himself. Jesus today, Jesus tomorrow, and Jesus for eternity.
Jesus Is Better
Parenting is tiring, and some days I feel my need for a break more than others. Some days the impulse to push that magic button is stronger. But even more than I want a break, I want to end faithful to Jesus, and I want to end with Jesus.
So I think of the faithful ones who went before me and take these words to heart: “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
The choice to rise from the table, clear the dishes, and put children to bed with a cheerful heart may be the most important battle of the day. It’s laying aside the weight of cravings and self-indulgences. It’s putting off frustration, complaining, and other sins that cling so closely. It’s running with an endurance that pushes through tiredness to help a weary toddler fall asleep or encourage a struggling teen who wants to talk late at night.
It’s doing all of these things and more because God offers something so much better than a magic button. He offers forgiveness and eternal joy in Jesus, who endured the cross and its shame.
So instead of pushing a button, I look to Jesus and push through for the joy set before me—Jesus himself.