Letting Parenting Struggles Make You Strong

A High-Maintenance Baby

When our first child was born, my husband and I felt like we'd been run over by a bus. Hudson was an extremely high-maintenance baby, and it seemed like he hardly ever slept. I enviously listened to other moms talk about how well their newborns were sleeping. But Hudson had acid reflux, which caused him to wake up screaming every thirty or forty minutes all night long. After about four months of this, I was at wit's end.

Though we dearly loved our little boy, we wondered what God had been thinking when He sent such a high-needs baby our way. The Bible says that children can bring strength into their parents' lives (see Ps. 127:4). But having a child only seemed to fill our lives with exhaustion. Parenthood certainly wasn't making us strong.

Or was it?


A Hidden Opportunity

Several months into our new life of fatigue and frustration, God began to awaken us to a hidden opportunity being presented to us through our baby—being made stronger through the challenges. Eric and I realized that the struggles and inconvenience of raising a high-strung baby could either strengthen us or weaken us. It all depended on how we responded to the opportunity God was putting in front of us.

God used the inconveniences and discomforts of parenthood to teach us how to carry greater weights without complaining or despairing.

Up to that point, we had only focused on the hardship, lack of sleep, and frustration of having a high-needs child. But now, we began to thank God for the opportunity to be made strong through the new challenges of parenting. We asked God for the grace to stop complaining and, instead, rejoice every time we had to wake up in the middle of the night (which was a lot!).

As we learned to embrace the training opportunity God had given us through our child, it was amazing to see how much stronger we became. God used the inconveniences and discomforts of parenthood to teach us how to carry greater weights without complaining or despairing. Soon, we were able to calmly handle things that used to crush us. We began to catch a glimpse of what Paul meant when he said, "I discipline my body and bring it into subjection" (1 Cor. 9:27).

A few years later, my husband and I launched a discipleship-training ministry—one of the most demanding tasks we've ever undertaken. Right at the same time, our four children were all under the age of five, and three were in diapers. Not the most convenient situation! Some people told us that because of the extra responsibility of having so many young children, we would not be able to handle all the pressures and responsibilities that come along with a discipleship ministry. Yet, the opposite was true.

A Spiritual Tool

Our children became God's training tool to keep us spiritually sharp. Because of what God was teaching us through our kids, we were much more prepared for the battles we were called to fight in our ministry. We discovered that children really are like "arrows in the hand of a warrior" (Ps. 127:4) when we willingly embrace the training opportunities they bring into our lives.

If your children are bringing difficulties and inconveniences into your life (and what kids don't at some level?), I encourage you to see these as opportunities that God has given you. Allow Him to use each challenge in your parenting to produce greater spiritual strength in your life. Through the struggles, God can make you stronger than you ever thought possible—sleepless nights, temper tantrums, morning sickness, little-kid messes, and all!

What is God teaching you through your little ones or other challenging relationships in your life? Be sure to leave a comment, and I'll pick three people who will win my new book, Set Apart Motherhood.

About the Author

Leslie Ludy

Leslie Ludy

Leslie Ludy is a bestselling author and speaker with a passion for helping women become set-apart for Christ. She and her husband, Eric, have published more than twenty books with well over a million copies in print and translations in … read more …

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