We began our parenting endeavor 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 the realization that we weren’t in fact as brilliant in the parenting realm as we originally thought came the reading of books, the picking of wise friends’ brains, conferences, online research, observations, classes. We were ready to confess that maybe we were a little off in the beginning, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t fix. We just needed more knowledge and steps to follow. Oh yes, and help from the Lord. That’s usually last on our list…
We’ve tried. I mean, we’ve really really tried. Yet our kids are still jacked up, and so are we.
Are you convinced yet that we’re qualified to write a blog to help others be better parents?
The truth is, when we had our firstborn, we thought, and I think were taught, that that baby was not a human being; he was a robot. As long as you programmed him correctly and stayed consistent, he would act exactly as he was supposed to. If his wiring 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 simply the tip of the iceberg of the troubleshooting we could do. And like all really great Christian parents, our troubleshooting/how-to guide was the Bible.
But the Bible isn’t a how-to manual. It’s a collection of writings by authors pointing to the great Author, the one who made and owns everything. And the Author has written a tapestry of stories weaved into the One Great Story. And, amazingly, he isn’t just the Author of the Story, he’s also the Hero. This story is by him and about him, not us or our kids or our homes or our stuff or our blog wit.
Here’s the thing. If there’s One Great Story and it has One Great Hero—Jesus, by the way, if we weren’t clear enough—then everything we do is part of that story. We don’t get to live our lives like they’re our own or like they’re isolated. Instead, we’re part of the story of the Hero, who put down the Author’s pen to rescue the antagonists of his story. Thus, we live our lives in that greater story, under the kingship of our humble savior. And when we view ourselves apart from that story or treat the Bible like a DIY book instead of the story of the Life-Giver, we’ve missed the point altogether. It’s like reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and using it as a guide to lay yellow bricks.
We want to share with you our journey, our footnote, in the One Great Story. We want to show you how we’re fighting the inner law-lover in each of us that just wants to know what to do and what not to do, dang it! We want to show you how we’re fighting to parent in Jesus, not like Jesus. We want to show you that we spend most of our time bumbling along the path, because even though the Author has already finished the Story, we’re not there yet. But we don’t want to miss a thing.
Our hope with this blog is that you’ll see some real parenting, messes and all, of two people who desperately want to look at Jesus instead of ourselves, our children, our circumstances, or anything else. We invite you into our home to observe us fail miserably 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 (serious emphasis on our family name here–this is not law nor will it be best for even most households), but please, please, please don’t let that become a main thing for you. That’s not the point. We want to share with you how God keeps humbling us and reminding us that every time we think we’ve got it and we’re the bee’s knees, we missed Jesus again. And we hope you’ll find encouragement (and hopefully some laughter!) in the midst of traveling with us on this bumpy journey calling parenting.
Bill & Courtney Bell