Like most people, I think I became a mother feeling nervous but confident. I had been a babysitter, I worked in childcare and I figured one child had to be easier than a handful at a time. But, as is often true, I wasn’t ready and probably no one ever really is. Each of my children has presented challenges I never could have anticipated, things that no child development book could have prepared me for.

Parenting is painstakingly sanding away rough edges I didn’t know I had. Whenever I’m convinced I’ve dealt with one thing, another comes up. I’m being heated to boiling, bringing all of impurities to the surface, to be skimmed away.

Even though I’ve walked this faith journey for most of my thirty some years, I took until the last few for me to realize how far I have come and yet I’ve barely begun. Perhaps that is the point, the further I grow, the more I realize how far I have to go. I try to extend more grace to others, without handing license to myself. My standard is not those around me, because we are all flawed humans struggling against a broken world that wants to keep us down and hold us back from who we are supposed to become. It feels futile, but we must look to our model. Jesus managed to walk this earth as a perfect human, despite encountering all the same temptations and difficulties that we do.

Yet, I find hope that God was the perfect parent, and yet Adam and Eve chose sin. My children will eat the fruit at various times in their lives, even if I do everything right and I know that I won’t. I am forced to hand my children to God, each day, even each hour as I open my own soul to his amendment. Parenting may be the tool he’s using, but the process is the same for all of us who walk this path. Jesus is the measuring stick, but the goal is to compare rather than contrast. To see where we are becoming more like him rather than dwell on those where we fall terribly short. It’s a long road but I walk it gladly, even though I don’t always enjoy it.