I started painting my kitchen about a month ago. Then, life happened. My daughter got injured. We had a rash of illnesses. The weekends got full of soccer and hockey. I got swamped with work.
So the kitchen sits unfinished with three walls done and many more to go. It’s going to look great when it’s done. I’m just not sure when that will be.
Our kids are a lot like my kitchen — a work in progress. Sometimes, we get a glimpse of what the finished product will look like, but all too often, all we can see are the unfinished walls. We can see the beauty to come, but for right now, we’re stuck in the mess.
Raising kids takes patience, patience and more patience. It takes repeating the same thing over and over and over again. It takes repeatedly tackling the same problems from different angles. It takes countless amounts of unconditional love.
As our kids grow, we have to remember that God isn’t finished with them. The truth is God isn’t finished with any of us. We are all works in progress with half-finished walls and unhung pictures.
As we raise our kids, it’s easy to get frustrated with the messiness of this parenting thing. We can get sidetracked by the amount of time it’s taking to see changes in behavior. We can get frustrated with the messiness of the whole process. We can wish away our kids’ childhoods by looking so far ahead that we miss today.
But being frustrated just impedes progress. It slows us down and keeps us bogged down in the mess. We need to keep our eyes on the end goal: Raising kids who look like Jesus. We have to remember the beauty at the end of the process so we can tolerate the mess now.
If you get frustrated with your kids today, remember that they are a work in progress. And sometimes progress takes time. Sometimes progress takes energy. Sometimes progress happens when we least expect it. But progress does happen, and we can’t let the unfinished mess distract us from the goal. Our kids need us to keep painting the walls — even when it seems like it’s taking forever.