Heavenly Father, in such menial moments as this—
The changing of a diaper—
I would remember this truth;
My unseen labors are not lost,
For it is these repeated acts
Of small sacrifice that—
Like bright, ragged patches—
are slowly being sewn into
A quilt of lovingkindness
That swaddles this child.
I am not just changing a diaper.
By love and service
I am tending a budding heart that,
Rooted early in such
Might one day be more
Readily-inclined to bow
To your compassionate conviction—
Knowing itself then as both a receptacle
And a reservoir of heavenly grace.
Excerpt from “A Liturgy for Changing Diapers” by Douglas McKelvey in Every Moment Holy
Raising children can be a great joy and calling as well as a source of terrible heartache, anxiety, and frustration. And in between those two poles there is an awful lot of small, seemingly mundane, and unimportant moments. Many in our congregation are currently raising small children, many of whom are still in diapers, and this is hard work. It is also important work. It is God’s work, made manifest through you. Perhaps you know this and it is what helps to keep you going on those long days when everyone needs something from you at every single moment. But I know that I forget, and so it is a helpful reminder to hear that changing diapers, wiping noses, practicing letters, and negotiating bedtimes is important stuff. It is image bearing stuff.
God did not make a mistake when he made you a parent. He did not make a mistake in giving you the children that you have. We know that nothing in this world is as it should be due to the curse of sin and its effects, but we also know this: that God is good; that he is merciful; and he is with you and for you. You and I cannot hope to accomplish all that we are called to accomplish as parents apart from God’s enabling and sustaining grace through Christ. And you and I are called to parent not only during big milestone moments of a child’s life, but rather in the everyday menial tasks and mundane moments.
If one were to look at the social media feeds of most parents, they would probably think that Christian parenting is nothing but trips to the river, pumpkin patches, and sensory play time on a rainy day. But we know better, many times outside of the frames of our Instagram post is a screaming sibling, an exhausted parent, and a frustrated heart.
Just like all of life—parenting is hard. We need help. Help from God and help from others. It is my hope that here at City Church of Richmond, we can be a group of people who admit that even in our parenting “we are a broken people loved by God…”
To that end, may I encourage you with this: that God called you to a very hard and very important vocation when he made you a parent, but he promises to be with you as you raise your children. His grace is sufficient on days when you are delighting in your children, days when you can’t stand them, and every day in between—because you are his child, in whom he always delights.
Because we know we need not only encouragement, but also practical help and time with others, I am delighted to announce that Janet Carter, a certified parenting coach who works here in Richmond and has worked with several families at City Church in the past, will be leading a morning seminar for us on Saturday, November 17th! Janet will speak to our calling as parents and give us the courage to live that out in our day to day! You can learn more—and register—here.