“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Co-parenting with the love and grace of Jesus can be really hard. Especially because my natural response is usually a selfish one. Every day, I’m becoming more like Jesus. But sometimes I find myself asking, “How long will it take me to learn how to deny myself and respond like Jesus?”
For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted extra time with my daughter Emma, even though she was supposed to be at her dad’s house. It was Mother’s Day, and I’m her mother, after all! When he said they already had plans and that his wife was really looking forward to spending time with Emma on Mother’s Day, I was upset. I thought, “How dare you not consider me and put me, the mother of your child, above everything else?!” I already don’t like sharing my time with her, but to share her on Mother’s Day seemed intolerable.
After a few days, God smacked me in the face with some truth. Even though she didn’t give birth to Emma, she married Emma’s dad and graciously stepped into this role of loving Emma as her own. I was humbled and overwhelmed with emotion. I realized what an honor it is to have someone else in Emma’s life who loves her like I do. It wasn’t going to be fun, but I had some apologies to make for the way I acted.
Co-parenting well is important to me. I want my kids to see healthy conflict resolution and see their parents love others well, so that they grow up knowing how to love others, even when it’s not easy. No one wants to be friends with their ex-husband. No one wants to have the hard conversations that come with co-parenting. It’s not easy! But it’s obedient to how Jesus wants us to live, and it’s well worth the effort.
I’ve seen other families that don’t cooperate, and the anger, frustration, and hurt it causes for them and their kids. We recognize that we have the opportunity to do things differently. We have so much more peace in our family and in our lives when we live each moment directed by God, not just by our feelings. And the good news is, when I respond with obedience and love, despite my feelings, my heart usually catches up. It does actually get easier.
If you find yourself struggling in a similar situation, just remember to keep your eyes on Jesus and give yourself grace when you don’t measure up. You won’t be perfect, but His example is the only one you need.
In His Love,
Changed Women’s Ministry