A Cold and Broken Hallelujah

My fellow parents, on this marvelous and difficult journey we call parenting, I want to invite you to join me in increasing our praises and decreasing our curses.

Headshot2 Natalie Frisk

I don’t know if there has been a time in my life when I’ve been closer to praise AND curse on my lips than in parenting. It really is incredible to watch amazing moments happen in my child’s life, moments when I want to (and often do) utter praises to God as I watch and experience his masterful creation. And, only minutes later, I want to cuss like my inner-sailor when my kid does something inconceivably frustrating.

Now, I don’t think that’s what James had in mind when he wrote about our tongues being conveyors of praise or cursing, but it sure does fit for parenting.

The other day, at the end of a frustrating hour-long car ride to drop off my daughter for a “Nana-and-Grandpa-Weekend,” completely out of nowhere, my six-year-old told me that she’d like to make some crafts when she gets home, sell them, and donate the money to people who are hungry and need food. In seconds flat my soul went from fatigued and frustrated to elated. Thank you, Jesus!

After I did the mom to nana handoff, while driving home in my then kid-free car, it dawned on me as I listened to the Leonard Cohen classic (but performed by KD Lang, because her version is far superior, don’t send letters); parenting is truly a cold and broken hallelujah.

It’s a puke-stained ode to joy. It’s a 4:45am wake up when daylight savings time ends, followed by a three-hour afternoon nap. It’s a teenager who says you embarrass them, and then is lauded for their kindness to others. It’s a shopping mall meltdown followed by a car-ride nap home. A cold and broken hallelujah.

My fellow parents, on this marvelous and difficult journey we call parenting, I want to invite you to join me in increasing our praises and decreasing our curses. We genuinely do have more to give thanks to God about when it comes to the amazing gift of our children than we do to swear about the obnoxious things they do and say. Let’s offer God more odes to joy than disgruntled grumblings.

I know it is easier said than done. Parenting is exhausting, painful, frustrating, and you never get to turn it off. But at the same time, kids are amazing, and beautiful, and hilarious, and smart, and kind, and insightful, and, close to the heart of the Father.

So, let’s try something:

  • When they wake you up in the morning, instead of a sigh and a “here we go…” let’s thank God for a new day of opportunity with our kids.
  • When they spill or mess up royally, show them grace and forgiveness and thank God for the way that he shows us grace and forgiveness.
  • When they head to school or daycare or you are apart for some amount of time, pray a blessing over them as they go. You are sending them out in the world to be a light, pray that over them as they go, and thank God they have the opportunity to reach people you may never be able to.
  • When you pick them up or they come home from school, daycare, etc. ask them if there is one or two things from their day that you can thank God about together.
  • And when they go to bed at night, it is totally appropriate to thank God for the quiet time without them too.

Sometimes we need to be intentional and plan to be grateful because it is often the hard and painful that is unplanned. If our default setting of intentionality is framed around gratitude, it has the potential to go a very long way in parenting. Because let’s be real: whatever that next phase in parenting is for you, it’s bound to push your level of frustration in new and surprising ways. Teething, tantrums, friend fights, sleepless nights, puberty, (pre)teen drama, the list doesn’t end. However, our praise doesn’t need to either.

Our praise can be louder, stronger, and bolder in thanks to God for the blessing of our kids over the frustration of a moment.