When pride leaves parenting

Written by Jessica Hurlbut
Published on March 19, 2024

Pride Leaving

“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” I admitted to my husband on the thirty-minute car ride to the graduation party.

“We can’t hide away forever,” Greg said.

“I know but we’ve tried like a hundred times, and it always ends in disaster.”

We rode in silence with the Veggie Tales theme song playing on repeat in the background.

As we pulled into the driveway, everyone looked surprised to see us. We piled out of the car and unbuckled our two toddlers from their car seats. The scene resembled the lifting of the starting gate at the horse races.

And they’re off.

Jer ran to the dessert table and Mara dashed toward the river. “Tag, you’re it,” I tapped Greg on the shoulder and motioned for him to run after her, “This was your idea after all.”

Greg took off his flip-flops and handed them to me. He sprinted after Mara, who was always five steps ahead. I turned my back and decided to enjoy having a conversation with another adult. But after thirty minutes, I started to worry. Finally, Greg trudged up the hill with Mara’s dripping Velcro sneakers in one hand and her body flung over his shoulder. Her little fists beat his back and her bare feet kicked against his stomach. As he approached, Mara’s ear-piercing scream drew the entire graduation party to attention.

“Party’s over!” Greg yelled as he pulled the car keys from his pocket, making sure not to look anyone in the eyes as he passed. I apologized to the host, grabbed my son’s hand, and headed to the car.

This scene happened over and over again. The details were different, but the outcome was always the same. Later that night, I called my mom to vent.

“It was so embarrassing, Mom.”

“I know, honey, but it’s a good thing. Whenever you feel that sting, pride is leaving. When pride leaves, there’s a little bit less of you and a little bit more of Jesus.”

Jesus’ Favorite Camping Spot

The conversation with my mom felt like a crack of light shining through a door that was once slammed in my face. When God doesn’t change our circumstances, he wants to change our perspective. When we hyper-focus on ourselves, suffering feels pointless. And when suffering feels pointless, life feels hopeless. But let me plant in your heart a mustard seed of faith today. What if God desires to use this hard season to mold you into the person he created you to be? Maybe your pain could serve a purpose.

And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. (Romans 8:28 TLB)

God can morph the most horrendous circumstances of our lives into something beautiful. But there are two conditions in this verse. All things that happen to us are working for our good if we love God. This promise is for the Christian. Life can feel like one trauma on top of another—suicide, divorce, cancer, death. Many of these scenarios have no happy endings or good outcomes. But for the Christian, God promises to flip the script and redeem that which has been stolen.

The second condition? All that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. We can’t twist God’s arm and fit him into our five-year plan. This requires us to rip up our vision boards and start praying bold prayers:

Your way, God, not mine.

Your will, not mine.

Your story, not mine.

I found myself on a journey with special needs parenting I never intended to take. But Jesus’ favorite spot to set up camp is the gap between the life you envisioned and the one you now live. We need to get comfortable living in the tension of what we thought and what God intended. For the surrendered Christian, this is home.

Paul speaks of this when he compares walking in the Spirit versus walking in the flesh. Our flesh wants things our way. But as children of God, we have the privilege of sharing in Jesus’ suffering, so that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:17). How much courage would we possess if we dared to believe God can use anything the enemy throws at us for his glory and our good?

Listen to me. You didn’t miss God’s will for your life. 

It just looks radically different than what you imagined. 

Trust the process.

Adapted from Unlimited Motherhood by Jessica Hurlbut, provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2024. Used with permission.

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Jessica Hurlbut

Jessica Hurlbut is a wife, pastor, writer, podcaster, and mom of five—two autistic, two adopted, and one typical teen boy. Her book, Unlimited Motherhood, ignites hope in the hearts of overwhelmed moms to recognize and live out the abundant life Jesus promised, rather than settling for “just getting by.” She and her husband, Greg, are lead pastors of New Testament Church in upstate New York and oversee a network of churches in the north country. Jessica and her husband also host a weekly podcast, Full Spectrum Parent, the only faith-based autism parenting podcast. Learn more at JessicaHurlbut.com.


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