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We began our parenting story in May 2005 with the birth of our firstborn. Until that day, we were perfect parents. Now we understand that practice most definitely does not always make perfect (of course since we thought we were perfect in the beginning, I guess we had nowhere to go but down).
With therealization that we weren’t in fact as brilliant in the parenting realm as weoriginally thought came the reading of books, the picking of wise friends’brains, conferences, online research, observations, classes. We were ready toconfess that maybe we were a little off in the beginning, but it wasn’tanything we couldn’t fix. We just needed more knowledge and steps to follow. Ohyes, and help from the Lord. That’susually last on our list…
We’ve tried. Imean, we’ve really, really tried. Yet our kids are still jacked up, and so arewe.
Are you convincedyet that we’re qualified to write a blog to help others be better parents?
Parenting by the Rule Book
The truth is, whenwe had our firstborn, we thought, and I think were taught, that man-child babywas not a human being; he was a robot. As long as you programmed him correctlyand stayed consistent, he would act exactly as he was supposed to. If hiswiring ever got off, it was because we had failed to program the discipline,routine, family worship, heart-probing, memory-making, individual time,gospel-centered, or unconditional love system correctly. And those are simplythe tip of the iceberg of the troubleshooting we could do. And like all really great Christian parents,our troubleshooting/rule guide was the Bible.
But the Bible isn’ta how-to manual. It’s a collection ofwritings by authors pointing to the great Author, the one who made and ownseverything. And the Author has written atapestry of stories weaved into the One Great Story. And, amazingly, he isn’t just the Author ofthe Story, he’s also the Hero. Thisstory is by him and about him, not us or our kids or our homes or our stuff orour blog wit.
Looking to the One Great Story
Here’s thething. If there’s One Great Story and ithas One Great Hero—Jesus, by the way, if we weren’t clear enough—theneverything we do is part of that story. We don’t get to live our lives like they’re our own or like they’reisolated. Instead, we’re part of thestory of the Hero, who put down the Author’s pen to rescue the antagonists ofhis story. Thus, we live our lives inthat greater story, under the kingship of our humble savior. And when we view ourselves apart from thatstory or treat the Bible like a DIY book instead of the story of theLife-Giver, we’ve missed the point altogether. It’s like reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and using it as a guide tolay yellow bricks.
We want to sharewith you our journey, our footnote, in the One Great Story. We want to show you how we’re fighting theinner law-lover in each of us who just wants to know what to do and what not todo, dang it! We want to show you howwe’re fighting to parent in Jesus, not like Jesus. We want to show you that we spend most of ourtime bumbling along the path, because even though the Author has alreadyfinished the Story, we’re not there yet. But we don’t want to miss a thing.
Looking for Hope
Our hope with thisblog is that you’ll see some real parenting, messes and all, of two people whodesperately want to look at Jesus instead of ourselves, our children, ourcircumstances, or anything else. We invite you into our home to observe us failmiserably and prayerfully grow in looking to the cross instead of our failures.Yes, you’ll see some practical outworking of how the Bells do things (seriousemphasis on our family name here–this is not law nor will it be best for evenmost households), but please, please, please don’t let that become a main thingfor you. That’s not the point. We want to share with you how God keepshumbling us and reminding us that every time we think we’ve got it and we’rethe bee’s knees, we’ve missed Jesus again. And we hope you’ll find encouragement (and hopefully some laughter!) inthe midst of traveling with us on this bumpy journey calling parenting.