You've found yourself in a hard place. You are looking for a way out, a purpose, hope through this experience. You are not alone. Others are in hard places too. Others have been in your shoes and have come out the other side. Here are their stories of how they found The Rock in their hard place.
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Can Parenting be my Hard Place?
By Whitney Bausman
A sweet moment—what I thought parenting would look like.
parenting be my hard place? When wombs are barren and cribs are empty and hearts
are riddled with child-shaped holes. When disease and death steal innocence and
the frivolity of youth. When others long for and beg for even a taste of the
feast that has been set before me. When what I have been given is so clearly a
gift…even if it often comes in tattered, snot-covered, Play-Doh-crusted
wrapping paper. The answer? Well, the answer is a big-old, shout-it-from-the-rooftops
made me a mom about five years ago when He blessed me with the most inquisitive
and perceptive little boy, and then saw fit to double the love when He gifted
me with a nurturing, animal-loving daughter not even two years later. Hands
down, Clark and Annie are two of my three most favorite people on Planet Earth.
They are cuter-than-cute, sometimes really tender-hearted, and downright hilarious (ask anyone…), but they are
also some of the strongest of strong-willed children I have ever laid eyes on.
I’m talking super-human strength. They challenge everything that is asked of
them, they voice their opinions loudly, and they make it known that if an idea
isn’t their own, it’s simply not one worth entertaining. If you happen to find
yourself in my neighborhood on a warm, spring day—a windows open kind of
day—and are suddenly enveloped by the sounds of screaming as you walk past my
home, don’t fret. It’s just bath time!
Most of the time,
being my kids’ mom is awesome. Most of the time, I find myself wondering
what I’ve done to deserve them and their always-giving, hunky Daddy. Most
days, I send my husband texts thanking him for working so hard away from home
so that I don’t have to…and most days, I find joy in silly, trivial
things like making turkey-shaped muffins or all-green meals. Some days,
though? Well, some days I send texts to Jonathan reading something more like:
SOS. Send ice
cream. Send coffee. Send children who actually listen to their mother
occasionally. Send all of the good juju you can muster, and be forewarned that
as soon as you get home tonight I’m locking myself in our bedroom. Maybe
parenting my always-talking, always-moving, always-tyrannizing duo has
certainly gifted me with a love that is stronger and more palpable than any
other I’ve ever known, it has also shed light on lots of glaring flaws in my
character. Being a mom has shown me what I am and what I certainly am not. Far less often than I am patient or
tuned in to my children’s needs or truly gracious, I am impatient and
distracted by my own to-do list and brought to a place of sheer anger.
what do I do in the face of struggle as a parent? What do I do when this hard
place of mine is REALLY-REALLY hard some days? I remember that while these
children are certainly mine to nourish and mine to love and mine to guide…they are not mine to control. Even
God—who breathed life into their little lungs and who knit their every cells
together—has given them free will. Clark and Annie are not puppets on a string,
nor would I want them to be. They are entities that are separate from my own,
and as much as I would love it if learning and growing and maturation came
easily around here, these things are hard-earned and S L O W L Y gained.
This picture is closer to my parenting reality.
Parenting is giving grace when it isn’t deserved. It’s loving without
condition. It’s recognizing the big-picture worth in something that often feels
fruitless in the short-term perspective. It’s God empowering me to respond with
words of encouragement when what I’d really like to do is scream. It’s a
Heavenly Father subtly and not-so-subtly reminding me that parenting ME doesn’t
look all that different from parenting my own children. I’m flawed. I’m
stubborn. I’m a fan of comfort. And…I’m sometimes super-difficult to get
is the hardest place I have ever found myself in. It’s a revealing place, and a
challenging place, and sometimes even an “I don’t know if we’ll all be alive
when Daddy gets home” place. But you know what else it is? It’s a beautiful
place. It’s a precious place. It’s a place that gives me joy and meaning and
purpose…and even on the worst days (like the days spent cleaning fermented
urine from toy boxes and breaking up 600 rounds of Sibling Smackdown), it’s my favorite
place. It’s a place full of belly laughs and poorly-constructed bunk bed forts
and playing ‘chicken’ with the honeybees while running barefoot through the
backyard. It’s a place I thank God for each and every day.
all of the parents out there who aren’t afraid to admit that even this most
sacred of places can be holy-crap hard, I say this: What a gift we have been
BAUSMAN is a local mom and author. She is a full-time herder of two beautiful, funny,
and infuriating children. She and her husband reside in York where they savor
the beauty among the chaos. If you like what you’ve read today, hop on over to
Amazon and grab a copy of Whitney’s latest work: “Herding Cats: The Chaotic,
Exhausting, & Hilarious Task of Parenting Toddlers”.
This site is a collection of real stories by real people about The Rock in their hard places.
It is curated and edited by Kara Ranck, who is a wife and mother of two children living in Pennsylvania. Kara herself has traveled some hard places in life and knows there is hope and power when we tell our personal stories about The Rock, which brings us through. Thank you for joining us here!
The crime November 3,
1991, was a beautiful fall day—cool, clear, and crisp. After church my brother,
Jeff, and I shoveled down dinner and rushed out the door to play football with
our youth group. Along the way to the game, we picked up some friends. Though
only 17, I thought I was the best driver in the nation as I steered our car on
to a local country road. We crested a
small hill and saw an Amish horse and buggy ahead of us (a common sight in Lancaster,
PA.). I thought to myself, “I’m going to blow by these guys!” I stomped on
the gas, accelerating to 70-75 mph, steering the car into the left lane to pass
the buggy. As we raced closer to the buggy, I will never, ever forget seeing
the nose of the horse turning towards me, and I instantly knew they were trying
to turn. I wasn’t even watching for their turn signal, nor did I see the small
country road they were attempting to turn into. Instinct took
over as I slammed my foot down on the brake pedal. The brakes locked and…
By Amanda Miller One of my husband’s characteristic
sayings is, “What’s the worst that can happen?” It’s meant to dissuade anxiety or
unrealistic worries, and it used to help a little. Until one day, the worst did
happen. Brian was ran over by a
tractor. Actually, he was run over by the
farming implement the tractor was pulling — a 20-thousand-pound no-till drill,
a heavy beast fitted with rows of sharp discs meant to plow through hard-packed
Kansas soil. The tractor kept going, until it
lodged itself in a grove of trees in the middle of the section, a quarter mile
from the dirt road. So by the time anyone started to be concerned at Brian’s
absence, it was already getting dark. I was at work, and normally I would
have tried to be in contact with Brian several times throughout the afternoon
and evening, but I was in the throes of prepping for and teaching a cooking
class and didn’t notice that there was no response to my single text. I had no
idea it had already been almost five hours by…
Alone I stumbled back to IMU to frantically pack up our things; alone I crumpled, sobbing, into a corner in the much-too-familiar ICU waiting room; alone I pleaded for updates while they still wouldn’t let me see Brian.
This was one of the only days I was alone. It feels a little cruel that this of all times was when no one was there with me, but (especially after the fact) I can see the grace in it. In all reality, I was only by myself for a couple hours — the hours of crisis when I had no idea what was happening with Brian or if it was all over. There was no one to distract me, comfort me, strengthen me—no one to lean on but my God. The other crises I always had people to bolster me, but this time I only had God...and he was enough.
Brian made it through the day, and over the next day or two showed small signs of progress — before he started tanking again. His lungs started shutting down, and in a horrible progression he went from room air to a bi-pap mask to the venti…