Parenting is hard.  I tell people all the time that my day job is ten times easier than my role as a Mom of three awesome, young, exuberant boys.  For those of you who have children at home, you know what I mean.  Even if your kids are grown, you understand that your role as a parent is never really finished.  Even if you don’t have children, I know there are other unique challenges in life that can be hard.


            Parenting as a military spouse sometimes brings an entirely different dynamic of difficulty to the mix.  My husband’s job in the Army has sent him overseas for a year at once several times in our marriage.  Last year was the first time we were apart for a year while having three children.  It was a challenge to begin with, but there was one week in particular that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it on my own.


            My week started with our oldest son getting in trouble for using his water bottle as a spray toy during math class at school, requiring some loving correction from both his teacher and myself.  Our 4 year-old then decided it was time that he was old enough to run ahead to the car every time we left an establishment to go into the parking lot, not understanding that other cars can’t always see his little body running in front of them.  The third time that week he pulled this stunt, he left us on his own while we were leaving our oldest son’s football game, crossed a busy highway all by himself and was waiting at the car for us after I frantically searched for him at the field for what seemed like an eternity!  Now it was time for son #2 to need some serious parenting instruction as well.


            I should have known that was not the end of the adventures that week.  Don’t some people say that “things come in threes?”  The night after the football game incident, our youngest son (only 18 months old at the time, but very strong and eager to prove that he can hang with the big boys) shattered my father-in-law’s flat screen television with one of his brothers’ toys.  At this point, I was admittedly beside myself with frustration.


            I was in tears by the time I got all three boys to bed that night. I was at my wits end and felt like a failure as a parent because of all that happened that week with the kids.  The only thing I could think of was to plead with God to help me because I didn’t know what to do! 


But God knew exactly what I needed.  He held me close that night, reminding me of what His heart looks like for His children.  Even when we screw up or think we can do something all by ourselves, He is patient and forgiving.  His love is steadfast and true.  That love that He models for us is the same love He wants us to have for others, especially for our children.


God also reminded me that night that He knew I would be needing some extra parenting encouragement that week.  There was a parenting conference at church that weekend that I had signed up for months ago and had almost forgotten about!  I almost didn’t register because I didn’t want to go alone, but I felt led to sign up anyways.  The conference was being presented by Gary Thomas, author of a book called “Sacred Parenting.”  Since my parenting felt like anything BUT sacred that week, I was so grateful for the opportunity to receive some Biblical guidance, right at the perfect time.  It ended up being an awesome conference, and God totally renewed my strength as a single parent for that season of my life.


In that one small window of time, God reminded me that He knew what I needed before I even asked him for it.  He showed me how He could supply all my needs during a difficult week by orchestrating specific opportunities long before I needed them to make sure I was encouraged and able to endure my trials.  The only thing I had to do was look to Him for help! 


I don’t know what your week looks like, but I do know that we all face our own trials.  Maybe you are navigating a difficult relationship at home or at work.  Perhaps you are walking through a health concern or a financial struggle.   Is your role as a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend bringing something difficult to handle? 


Take heart, my friends!  God is faithful, and He will not bring you to it without bringing you through it.  His Word is true and full of promises about supplying exactly what you need today.  Will you look to Him for help?          


“[Y]our Father knows what you need before you ask him.” – Matthew 6:8 (NIV)


“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 (NLT)


“No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial He will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NET)


“I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)