"And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."
Reflection by Lillian Daniel
Sometimes parenting is a job that is so hard, you couldn't pay me to do it. And sometimes it's a job I do so poorly, you wouldn't pay me to do it.
And sometimes motherhood is not a job at all, but a calling that feels like a beautiful blessing I did nothing to deserve. But most of the time, mothering is hard work.
I know that mothering is hard work not so much because I have done it, but because I put another good woman through it. When I look back on some of the things I said to my mother during my high school years, I now understand why she occasionally referred to me as "Lillian, the Teenage Werewolf."
She had been shaped by the 1957 movie, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," whose absurd plot synopsis would only make sense to someone in the doldrums of parenting of teenager. "A troubled teenager seeks help through hypnotherapy, but his evil doctor uses him for regression experiments that transform him into a rampaging werewolf." Oh, now I get it! Who knew there was such a simple explanation?
Today's scripture promises us that, while there often is not a simple answer, there is meaning to the hardest times in life. It says that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope. I think that parenting produces all those things too.
Parents think they are working for all those qualities in their children. But perhaps in all those parenting struggles, God is working for those qualities in the grown-ups too.
I pray that God is still working on me. Especially now that my own teenagers are more than capable of howling at the moon.
Thank you, God, for endurance, character and the hope that does not disappoint us. Amen.
Taken with permission from the UCC StillSpeaking Devotional