Practice Makes…

Rev. Kristie Selvidge   -  
Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to learn how to ride your bike without training wheels? You looked at that bike and wondered how in the world you would master the art of riding. You practiced over and over again working to master the art of balancing on those two wheels so that you could ride around the neighborhood like the big kids were doing. You fell a few times and skinned your knee and there was even the time when you fell that it took your breath away and scared you, but something in you or someone beside you told you to get back up and keep going! You learned by watching others, you learned by trying, and you learned by sending up a prayer that you’d succeed.
So many things in life take practice just like learning how to ride a bicycle. For me, one of the biggest things I have had to practice is being a parent. I remember the moment each of my children was laid on my chest for the first time and each time while falling instantly in love, I thought, “What on earth do I do now!” There are thousands of books out there to tell you how you should parent. While I learned valuable tools from some of them, I learned that kids are not all the same and there is no cookie-cutter mold that they can be made to fit in. My parents were great role models to watch when it came to realistic parenting. I had plenty of mentors to observe their parenting styles. Jeremy and I talked through a lot of things about how we would parent together and then came the actual practice of parenting…we.were.clueless!
We tried getting one of the kids to sleep on a certain schedule, we tried to get them to eat certain foods, we tried to potty train a certain way, we tried to calm them when they threw temper tantrums, we tried…we tried…we tried…
There were plenty of moments along the way where we had NO IDEA what to do. Have you ever felt that way? I could recount moments with each child of feeling clueless and helpless. We had some defining moments that tried us in ways we had never been tried as parents. We failed sometimes in attempting to do things right. We had to apologize sometimes for failing so miserably.
I recently thought about how at one time I thought things would get easier when my kids got older and more independent…I was so wrong! I am still learning how to parent in each new stage of their lives. I am still practicing how to be the mom they need me to be. I still try and I still fail sometimes. I still have moments of hopelessness…moments where I don’t have any idea how to help or what to say or how to react.
Years ago, a very wise woman encouraged me in my parenting moments. She gave me a few passages of Scripture to pray over my kids and over situations they were dealing with. Today, I looked back over a couple of those scriptures and I was reminded of the power of both prayer and the Word of God. When we put them together and pray the Word of God over our children we unleash the power of God in a situation where we previously felt helpless. We call on the ONE who does not fail, who does not fall down, who does not need practice to succeed. Hebrews 4:12 says: For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  
I needed to be reminded that God’s Word is powerful when it comes to my parenting and my weakness and my inabilities and my complete lack of how-to! God’s Word fills in my loss of words!
Here are just a few Scriptures I have prayed over the years (they are personalized)…
When he is afraid, he will put his trust in you. In God, whose Word he praises. In God, he puts his trust; he will not be afraid. What can mere men do to him? Psalm 56:3-4
Help their friends to be ones who love you and do what is right. Proverbs 13:20
Help them to choose friends who will be there to help them get back on their feet when they fall.
Ecclesiastes 4:10
Guard her heart. Proverbs 4:23
God did not give him a spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7
May her words be fit and spoken at the right time. Proverbs 25:11
God answers our prayers. God hears our cries. God intervenes when we don’t know what to do. One practice I have had to continually work at is letting go. When each of the kids were infants we dedicated them to God, trusting that He would guard them always and we gave God control of their every moment. This is where I need to find myself when I start to wonder, or worry, or fail, or find myself at a loss…giving my kids to God, praying scripture over them, and letting go.
While practice does make perfect when riding a bike (sort of)…practice in parenting simply makes me an imperfect mom, seeking the will of God for her kids. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I fail, but what matters is that I keep practicing and letting God do the rest!