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  • Writer's pictureMegan Estes

Boulder-Sized Parenting Trials

Updated: Feb 3

Parenting is not for the faint of heart! Of course you all know this! It's one of the main relationships in our lives that drives us to seek counsel, often reach out for professional help, and most of all beg God on our knees for what we should do in heavy parenting situations. If you've been carrying boulder-sized burdens around you're not alone. It's time to lean on your Lord and Savior like never before and trust Him and the wise ones around you with those burdens. Watching our kids grow up is exciting and also terrifying as the consequences and mistakes our children make become more costly. Here are some things we're learning to do as we walk through this new season of parenting older children through different parenting trials.

Protecting a child's dignity

Protecting Their Dignity

Currently we've been walking through a new season of parenting that feels strongly isolating. Yes, we have great community. Yes, we have strong spiritual support. But, as our kids get older what we can/should share about them and their struggles looks a lot different. When they were little I remember telling my friends literally everything! The behaviors we were struggling with, what we were doing about it, and even dealing with judgment from peers on different occasions though we only had a toddler! Now that my kids are older the rules have changed. Sharing their struggles with the wrong people can ruin my kid's friendships with others, cause deep shame, and weaken my own relationship with my kids because they no longer feel safe and see me as trustworthy. ALL of this can lead to a different type of loneliness, and feeling like you're carrying invisible boulders around on your back. No one else sees or feels them but you and your spouse. They're heavy and the weight can feel unbearable at times. Thankfully, we serve a God who knows ALL and sees ALL. He is with us always, even when we feel all alone. While we must be diligent in protecting our kid's dignity and letting them tell others their own story, there is a time and place to lean on your inner circle and even seek professional help for your kids. You can still have deep friendships without everyone knowing everything, it's called boundaries. That's something I've had to learn the hard way over the years. Great godly friends understand these boundaries and will pray for you and your kids even when they don't have all the details. These are the friends that will also help protect your children's dignity and love them without judgement. Some heartaches you may bear alone with God--but His presence is sufficient! Other parenting trials and burdens you'll need to bear with trusted friends. Press into those people who will keep cheering you and your children on no matter what!


Leaning on wise people during parenting trials

Leaning on Trusted Advisors with Parenting Trials

Recently our kids made some decisions that were devastating. I really needed to talk to someone but knew that my husband and I needed to be really careful in protecting our children's dignity. After praying about it the Lord gave me the name of a friend. How cool is that? It turned out to be the perfect person to call. They knew just what we were going through and were able to advise and love me without judgment. They even knew the perfect counselor to contact for more advice. Praise God! I went from feeling alone, isolated, and at a loss for how to traverse through the parenting jungle we were in, to a few days of talking with my husband and praying God would truly send us a clear direction in how to move forward and who to talk to--and He did! Not every parenting decision is like that. Most of the time we just take the next best step that we think is correct! This time, however, God knew we needed to be vulnerable and seek outside counsel, bring some things to light, and through all that we no longer felt alone or isolated. We are stronger in the Body of Christ and His loving grace. It takes time to build solid relationships you can trust in. Sometimes the people you think won't judge you or your kids actually do, and you realize they're not a safe space for you to share more in depth with. I pray that today you can look at your inner circle and see if anyone there is able to be a trusted advisor for you, or if they can point you to someone who could be. We all need counsel, encouragement, grace, and a strong godly cheering section as parents. I pray God helps you take those vulnerable steps towards building that community around you today!

Trying on personalities

Watching Them Try on Personalities

Has your child ever committed a sin that made you rethink and question everything you do? It's terrifying to feel that level of failure as a parent. If not, yay for you! Though I'm sure that day will come, so be ready! This sneaky little thing called 'free will' is precious and also terrifying. Our kids are going to make mistakes that are easily rectified, and they're going to make mistakes that make you question whether you're a good mom or dad. Remember that thing called, "free will?" We HAVE to remember that they are their own person, and they are simply trying to figure out who they are. Not every failure needs to be blown out of proportion. Whoops. I've definitely done that! My kid does something horrendous and immediately I think that they will end up in jail for the rest of their lives! Here's some truths from God's Word I constantly have to remember when I am freaking out and thinking, "there's no way my sweet little darling could have committed such a travesty."

  1. They are sinners in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:23, all have sinned...)

  2. My kids need a safe space to figure out who they are with lots of grace. They are in training needing lots of patience and love! (Prov. 22:6, train up your children...)

  3. I'm a sinner too, my sins just look different. (Romans 3:23)

  4. We both desperately need the cross and to repent and believe DAILY while we work on following Christ. (Philippians 2:12, continue to work out our salvation with God)

So, if you've been surprised lately by your child's sudden change in personality, attitude, behavior, etc, be encouraged that they are doing the hard work of growing up! Remember how confusing and overwhelmed you felt as a young teen?! Growing up is hard work! Especially in today's culture. Keep those "freak out faces" hidden inside and work on being calm, cool, and collected when your child does the unthinkable, or tells you about it. They need to know they are unconditionally loved and that you are their safe person in this life! They need to know they can tell you anything and talk about whatever is on their hearts without a crazy emotional reaction from you. It's okay to go cry about it later with a trusted friend or spouse. But loving our kids well as we watch them try on different personalities, stumble around, and even fail big will have lifelong dividends! Keep pursuing their hearts and they'll know you don't love them cause they're good, you love them unconditionally because they are yours!

Solid front

Parenting As A Solid Front

I do not take for granted the wise and godly character that my husband leads our family with. I'm so thankful God blessed me with him. We are still young in our marriage of fifteen years but have learned to press in towards one another and the Lord during hard parenting times. We HAVE to be united. Even if behind the scenes we are in conflict with one another, that has to be set aside when dealing with heavy situations in parenting. We have to choose to be mature enough to set aside our differences and bond together so our children know that WE ARE ONE, they feel safe, and that they cannot divide mom and dad. There's a special security that comes to a child knowing those things.


Being a united front means that we have to have constant communication about our kids. Gosh dang, even when we're alone we're talking about the kids sometimes! Sometimes it looks like sitting everyone down for dinner and then mom and dad going elsewhere to have a private conversation so that we know how to better back one another up and make sure we're working together as a team. As the kids get older the conversations and challenges we face as parents become even heavier needing more attention. I LOVE when my husband is on break from work walking through the house and hears a child being disrespectful and immediately says, " don't talk to your mom like that." I feel so loved and supported as a wife when that happens! The kids also know that dad's first love is his wife and he will protect me at all costs. They are reminded that we are a team! They can't get between us to manipulate or twist things--though we've let them do it before and paid for it dearly. It takes great grace, communication, and intentionality to parent as a united front. It takes time to grow in this and honestly put our own sinful pride away. But you can do it! Ask God to show you how you can back one another up in ways that you aren't doing so now.

Your identity in Christ

Finding Your Identity in Christ Alone--Not Your Child's Behavior

I still remember when I was first realized this was an issue for me. I was listening to Michelle Anthony's book, Spiritual Parenting, and realized a lot of my confidence as a parent was stemming from my child's good behavior. How did I know this? Because when my oldest was having typical toddler meltdowns I was melting down, too! I was embarrassed, ashamed, and wanting to hide under a bush. Now that I'm a few kids in it takes a little bit more to ruffle my parenting feathers! Ha! BUT, it happens. In fact, it happened recently! I thought I had dealt with several of the boulders that I had been carrying, but nope! There they were again, and there I was again feeling their hefty weight instead of handing them to the Lord and looking to Him for affirmation in who I was as His child. I can be walking along in this motherhood journey thinking that, 'all is well,' and the next minute we're in crisis with something I've never experienced before as a parent--and all my faith and confidence in who God has made me to be is thrown out the window! That's when I have to take a step back and remember that my kids have free will and all I can literally do is train them, love them unconditionally, and be on my knees in prayer constantly. I can be a great mom who raises godly children, and I can be a great mom who raises kids that have chosen to go wayward. There is no magic recipe to make the perfect disciple. Each child has to choose Christ on their own, just like you and I do daily.


When I'm steadfast in seeking direction and identity through my walk with Christ I am to parent in unmatched grace through the Holy Spirit. But when I'm insecure and placing my full identity in my kid's choices that somehow magically show whether I'm failing or succeeding in motherhood I am anxious, frustrated, bossy, and more harsh. This is understandable--because if I'm fully grounded in my identity in Christ versus having my identity in my works or other's works I'm not easily shaken. However, if my identity is in my kid's behavior then my human nature kicks in and works to try and control each and every situation so that I can feel like I'm succeeding. Here's the truth I have to focus on: my kids belong to the Lord. From the time they're in the womb, to the time they enter heaven's gates they are HIS. I simply have the privilege of loving them and leading them as best I can while on this earth. I HAVE to choose to put my trust in God over anything else (performance, finances, job security, possessions, kid's decisions, etc). I'm justified by faith through grace--not by being the best mom or having the best behaved kids. It's on God to grow the seeds I plant in their hearts. I can water them, care for them, pull weeds as often as I see them, but the harvest of hearts belongs to the Lord.


Prayer for Parents:

God give us the strength to be diligent in pursuing our kid's hearts. Thank you for the gift of being their parents! Help us to have energy to be steadfast in training and staying up late to talk with them as they need. Thank you for your Word and grace each day. Thank you for helping us carry the burdens our children hand to us and not leaving us alone to figure things out. For those parents who are feeling isolated I pray that you would help them bravely step into a life-giving community that can partner with them in parenting. We love you, Lord. Help us to show our children how loved and precious they are to You, and also to us. Amen.

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