Parenting is challenging. It leaves you weary at the end of the day; weary not only because of the trials of the day just finished, but also because tomorrow is just a few hours away. You know that in the morning you will wake up weary.
Weariness dominates when you see life’s responsibilities and burdens in abstraction from God’s purposes. When that happens, you take on the burden of parenting in you own strength.
God is at work in the most intimate details of your life. He delights in blessing his children with his strength. For this to occur, you must see that God is the one who has brought you to this point of weariness so that you will lean on him and acknowledge him. Christ has these words for the weary:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
To a weary parent these words are words of hope. Christ is not teasing you with empty promises. He means what he says. Your life and your children are not accidents. Christ is calling you to come to him.
You have tried to survive in your own strength. You have attempted, perhaps in desperation, to practice the world’s wisdom. Parenting advice abounds. It is all too easy to think that rest will be found at a baby or toy superstore, in a happy meal or having an organized schedule. But such respites are short-lived, aren’t they?
Anger will not produce the righteous life that God desires. Frustration will not calm a child. A sharp tongue will only produce more wrath. Discouragement calls you away from prayer. Add in a hectic schedule and the trials of life and weariness rule the day.
Paul challenges you to raise your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Use his ways. Listen intently to your children. Use pleasant words. Run from anger. Don’t trust your own understanding. Respond to your children’s sin with mercy and grace, not with disappointment and hurt. Speak often about the gospel. Learn to pray on the run with your eyes wide open! Seek God’s strength when you have none.
This is what Jesus means when he calls weary parents to come to him. Take his ways, his yoke, upon you. There you will find rest for your soul. You can wake up with joy and hope.