Loaves and Fishes Parenting: My Parenting Will Never Be Good Enough

I was thinking the other day. This usually gets me in trouble. But, occasionally, it also gives me some good insight. And every once in a while it leads to a lightbulb moment for me.

So I was thinking about the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Why? I don’t really know. It was rather random. But there it was.

Loaves and fishes parenting

The Biblical account of the miracle of the loaves and fishes or the feeding of the 5,000 is recorded in several places in the gospels. 

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

As this familiar Bible story came to mind, I was thinking particularly about this little boy who shared his meager lunch. He didn’t have much. Five loaves of bread and two small fish. 

But there were two special things that struck me about this little boy.

He was brave enough to offer his lunch. I can just imagine the courage it would have taken to be willing to stand out in a large crowd and offer this tiny amount of food. But he did it. As the disciples were scrambling and trying to figure out what to do, he gathered his courage and offered his meal.
He gave his lunch even though he knew it wasn’t enough. He could see the thousands of people in the crowd pressing around Jesus. He could count his meager five loaves and two fish. He knew that his lunch wouldn’t feed these people. But he gave it to Jesus in faith.
And as I thought about him and his offering of his little lunch, I thought about my role as a parent. 

In many ways I’m like this little boy.

My ability to parent is pretty meager. It’s definitely not enough for the challenges that can arise in parenting. Decisions to make, the behavior of kids to deal with, relationship issues- there’s no way I’m up to the task. Just as that little boy looked around at the crowd and knew his lunch wasn’t enough, I see all of the situations that arise regularly for me as a parent, and I know that my parenting skills are definitely not enough. I don’t have enough knowledge. I don’t have enough patience. I don’t have enough wisdom. In and of myself, I know that my parenting will never be good enough.
Christ asks me to bring my parenting abilities to Him, to turn them over. Just as the little boy had to step out and give his lunch to Jesus in faith, I have to bring what I’ve got to Him. I’ve got to be willing to turn it over, to surrender. In faith, I have to come to Christ and admit that I know I won’t have what it takes. On my own, I’ll never be able to successfully parent my children, to point them to Jesus, to equip them to have a life that pleases Him. I’ve got to lay my meager parenting skills down at the feet of Christ, acknowledging that my own strength and skill aren’t enough, and bring willing to give it to Him anyway.
Christ can take my meager ability, my meager knowledge, my meager skills, and He can make them enough. Just as He multiplied the lunch of that willing little boy and made that lunch enough to feed a crowd of thousands, He can take my parenting ability, lacking though it is, and make it enough. He can give me what I need to parent these kids. He can give me wisdom and strength and patience. He can multiply my limited abilities, giving me exactly what I need each step of the way.

Christ makes my parenting enough.

This thought, this ah ha! moment was extremely reassuring to me. 

It came at a time when I was truly feeling my lack. I was very aware at the moment that my parenting was never going to be good enough. But I realized that I don’t have to be good enough. Because I have a Guide, a Helper, a Savior who is good enough. And he can take the meager offering of my own parenting abilities that I bravely lay at His feet and multiply those abilities, giving me exactly what I need.
My prayer is that I’ll remember this moment of insight and that I’ll daily trust God to take my meager abilities and make me enough.

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