My Worst Parenting Nightmare…

It was every parent’s nightmare – over two hours at the allergist’s office with three young children. The kids and I all took turns alternately getting poked for blood draws, scratched all over our backs and arms for allergy testing, and puffing to check breath levels for asthma. The results? A bountiful diagnosis of asthma and allergies for everyone, with many allergies rated 4+ on the 0-4 scale.

The markers and paper I had brought along lost their appeal about 20 minutes into the two hour process, as my stress level rose to about a 6 on the 0-4 scale!

In between pokes, scratches and puffs, my energetic crew was going crazy in this medical torture chamber – making a mess, climbing under chairs, taking turns jumping off of the examining table. I was ready to ask the doctor for some valium as he walked in, but he surveyed the scene – one child quickly jumping off one end of the examining table, another exploring the contents of its drawers. Magazines, markers and drawings were everywhere. I was braced for a reprimand, but he smiled peacefully.

“My, you’re really raising a group of world-changers!”

I’ve never forgotten those words. He looked past all the chaos and stress and saw something beautiful: intensity, energy, joy, creativity, curiosity… and all the great potential in our kids to impact their world in a positive way. He saw our kids the way God sees them, not the way a stressed, out-of-control-feeling parent who just wanted life to be peaceful saw them.

Maybe your “allergist’s office” situation is getting kids to practices, or coming home to a frazzled babysitter, or feeling like a trip to the grocery store is a combat mission. Whatever the scenario, remember that beneath that crazy misbehavior is a pile of gifts that God can use to help your “world-changers” be lights in a dark world.  Over the years we reflected back on that defining experience many times. It fueled our perseverance to look for the gifts beneath our kids’ sometimes wild misbehavior. We anchored our family in the truth that God freely gave the gift of all this passion and energy – not to inflate egos, and not to drive us parents crazy, but to empower our kids to participate in His work in the Kingdom. So we kept working, in spite of days like the allergist appointment, to help our kids use those gifts in positive, helpful ways.

Apply it Now:

  1. What situation in your family came to mind as you related to our allergy craziness?
  2. If you were seeing your kids with this doctor’s lenses, what would you see?
  3. How could you affirm those gifts in your kids, and nurture positive use of them?

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