Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s a marathon of endurance to parent through each age and phase. Just a few decades ago I had the pleasure of being called “Mom” to four kids, ages six and under. I quickly learned that this parenting had questions that books or blogs couldn’t answer. Life came early and some times all night with little ones.

Some days I thought, “I’ve got this. ” Other days, I prayed for mercy to help me parent one more day. Parenting is a long-term commitment to raise the next generation. At times, the future can be blurred at the urgency of the moment. Day to day, simple tasks can become mountains to climb.

Take laundry, for example. If there was an Olympic medal for laundry, I feel I could have taken gold. During these same years of preschool and laundry, I worked part- time. It gave me a chance to speak some “adult” to others, and offered a creative outlet to serve others and use my gifts in some way.

Fast forward a few short years, we were deep into parenting four teens (gulp).

I’m confident this phase can bring out the best and worst in all of us as parents. I learned to carpool like a boss and sit on bleachers for hours, cheering for each team my kids were on. We learned to pray for wise choices. We learned through the school of hard knocks that emotions ride high on many things. As I look in my rearview mirror, I’m grateful my husband chose the late shift to wait for the kid with the car to arrive home safely in the driveway.

Fast-forward and I have the pleasure of enjoying my kids as adults.

Spoiler alert: your kids personalities and gifts are lifelong. And there is a Master design in each of them! We watch as they navigate life as an adult. We have the vantage point of seeing them embrace and navigate faith in their own lives.

I’m still mom. A mom who knows these kids made some great adults despite parenting faux pas. At times, we are now advisors when invited in. We get to be part of crazy amounts of fun when we are together. These four still enjoy being together. We stay in touch on our group text threads through the week. We get to listen when life takes a turn. It’s all part of the ride. We have exchanged the responsibility for raising them, to being there for them.

I have been to the future. And if I could give my younger Mom-self some tips, this is what I’d say:

Remember each kid is different in the way they view love and navigate life.
Listen when they speak.
Never grow weary of fighting for the heart each at every step . . . so they trust in God with every breath they take.

CUE: Think about your kids and your world today as a parent. Fast forward to the future. While we don’t know what it holds, you will always have a role as a parent of your kids, teens, adult kids and grandchildren. What can you do now with that end in mind?