The other day I had to once again sit down and teach our two oldest daughters about listening. They had flown off the rails and blown through every boundary we’ve set for them. Like a frog in a boiling vat of water, Selena suddenly realized just how bad things had gotten in a short time. So she called in the “big guns”—a.k.a. daddy.

Actually, instead of calling me in, she sent them up to my office. Sounds ominous, I know. In this case I tried to make it feel much more ominous than it actually is. As I lectured them, I recalled being lectured by my parents (and teachers and virtually every authority figure until I was 18). Still, I spoke sternly and slowly so as to convey my seriousness. I’m thankful for those moments where I get to instruct them, and I’m thankful that they still listen. But I’m also often frustrated by the monotony and repetitiveness of parenting.

“This again?” I thought. “When will they get it?”

I had to reel myself back in. I needed to remember… this is what parenting is all about. This is the good stuff—the substance of soul-forming. It’s not time to phone it in, it’s time to step up to the plate.

The meaning in the mundane

God uses the mundane to accomplish his grand purposes. This includes raising children who know and love Him! We can lose sight of all God is doing in us and our children because we forget how he works.

God works in deep, constant, mysterious, miraculous, and common ways alike.

In his book Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton mused,

“[Children] always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony… it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Consider all that could mean for you as a parent.

The slow, the steady, and the sure

God is always patient and often we are not. Still, He has chosen to bind our world and all that changes to the passing of time, and to the consistent outworking of small, sometimes invisible processes.

  • It is through time and monotony the mighty Redwoods eventually tower over every tree.
  • It is with relentless faithfulness that the days pass and seasons give way to new seasons.
  • It is the timeless trickle that forms a canyon and the repetitious crashing of waves that changes the coastline.

The daily work of parenting is not unlike growing a Redwood or shifting a coastline. The process is slow and it is steady… but it is also sure.

Take joy in knowing how God uses your daily work. Take joy in knowing that all of your nurturing work as a parent is accomplishing God’s good and grand purposes. Whether you’re changing diapers on a newborn or fielding questions about life and adulthood for a 30-something, your work is not in vain.

There is profound beauty in the common. You don’t have to see the growth or the change to make it real. Soul-forming is happening, and it’s partly through the faithful work of your hands… and it is fully by the grace of our good God.

"The daily work of parenting is not unlike growing a Redwood or shifting a coastline. The process is slow and it is steady... but it is also sure."

— Ryan G. Frederick

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