Raising a hard kid is the toughest thing I've EVER had to do in my life. It's not only physically tough, but also drains me emotionally and mentally. Most days my brain is completely taken up with the stress and conflict and gray storm cloud of emotion that my hard kid is. And it is so easy to forget that these kids who make us crazy also carry with their hot mess of emotions hundreds of thousands of blessings.
After talking to quite a few parents of hard kids, I've compiled a list to help us remember that all this struggle is for a reason. Here are twelve of them:
I have a much better understanding of grace and mercy and how it looks in action.
My child has taught me wisdom and discernment even as he has broken my heart. And he has proven God's word to me more than once. (Like I remind my children often, "Be sure your sin will find you out.")
When my hard child breaks my heart, it has given me a tiny glimpse into the pain God endured from me.
Raising a hard kid proved to me that parenting has never, ever been in my control. I can only do the best I know how, and lean on God to cover the rest.
I have learned to trust God more, as He has pried my grabby, selfish hands open through my hard child.
I've learned hands-on, and sometimes painfully in-your-face, about compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love.
I have learned the importance of keeping a short list of offenses with God, just as I must with my child.
It has shown me how God sees me. He does not label me by my sin but through love and forgiveness and shown me I need to do the same for my child.
My hard kid has forced me to have much greater humility. I had no clue how prideful I was until God opened my eyes through my child.
Raising my hard child has helped me be real and transparent, and realize that I am not the only parent in the church with a tough child.
My hard child has taught me to love fiercely, to allow pain and consequences when needed, and to laugh and love and preserve the relationship because it's only a short time I have with him.
I have learned that my hope, happiness, and future do not rest in my child or his choices, but completely on the Lord who made both of us and loves us more fiercely than I love my stubborn, reckless, but wonderful hard kid.