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I love this time of year. Stores are stocked with backpacks and Facebook is plastered with first-day photos. There’s a newness in the air, full of new starts and hope. This will be the year she makes new friends. This is the year he will get a teacher who believes in him. The hope of a parent is as fierce as a storm, and it will outweigh any desire a mom or dad will ever have for themselves.

 While not a parent myself, I certainly have a special place in my heart for those Moms and Dads I know, faithfully navigating each careful step, each cautious word, weighing it, sizing it, picking their battles prudently. Choosing. Wondering. Regretting. Shaming. Rising. Confessing. Battling. Knowing and never knowing for certain how each moment of their day went.

 I often pray for the parents I know whom I call friends. They are gutsy in ways I’ve never had to be. I think I’m fairly good at multi-tasking but I’ve never had to multi-task matters of the heart like needing to choose to be at one child’s first recital versus another child’s first soccer game. I think I’d cave like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice. I am in awe of the parents I know and I believe God is too.

 The story of Hagar in the book of Genesis has always struck a deep cord in me. Here’s Hagar, a young slave girl who, by no choice of her own, became the means to an end for Abraham and Sarah’s desire to have a child and see God’s promise come into fruition. However, Sarah comes to so bitterly resent Hagar that she casts her out to the desert to die alone. It is then that the angel of the Lord sees her and instructs her. Upon this encounter, it is said that Hagar gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me, for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”

 I sometimes wonder about all of those astounding moments that God sees the true heart of a parent – all those moments in the desert when shame screams and Evil accuses and there is no way of knowing if you handled the situation right. After all, there is a child inside that Mom or Dad, desperately doing all they can and sometimes simply caves in exhaustion.

 If you are a parent, know that God sees you. He sees and knows your limited wisdom, knowledge and credentials when it comes to parenting. Let Him parent you and fill the gaps where you are beyond uncertain. Allow Him to attune His gaze to you and linger long enough for you to respond, like Hagar: “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

 Are you aware of a God who applauds you as a parent? Take time for yourself and join others as we offer “From Surviving to Thriving: A Parenting Workshop” on Friday, September 29. To register, click HERE