The One Thing You Need as a Parent

It seems like there are so many things to remember as a parent, so many worries that fight for attention in my mind.

Are they eating well? Are we disciplining too much? Too little? Do we take them outside enough? Are they watching too much TV?

I better stop my list of questions there before I get lost in anxiety, and before I drag you down with me.

The point is, there are no shortage of things to worry about as a parent. I second-guess and question myself more often than not, and trying to raise our kids to become decent human beings can feel overwhelming.

The big underlying question I worry about is, What if we get it wrong? What if we miss it, whatever “it” is?

I want answers and formulas. I want it spelled out for me how to do this well, what words to say, and exactly what to do.

But kids don’t come with a manual. And just like adults, they aren’t problems to be fixed but (tiny) humans to be loved.


I’m reminded of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible (Luke 10:38-42), when Jesus comes to their house for a visit. Martha is frantically working in the kitchen, running around and trying to get everything just right. But Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, listening intently to his teaching.

Jesus says this: “Only one thing is needed.” And Mary has chosen that one thing. She has chosen to set aside everything to simply be with Jesus.

I think the same is true for us as parents. We run around trying to do all the things, figure out how to do this parenting thing just exactly right.

But only one thing is needed.

The most important thing we can do as parents is spend time with Jesus.

Maybe that sounds trite or overly spiritual or like a cop-out answer. But it’s the truth, and it goes so much deeper than the simplicity it seems to convey at first.

Parenting takes us to the very limits of ourselves. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought, “I cannot do this.” And not just a passing thought, but a real and deep sense that parenting is too much for me.

That’s because it is.

I don’t have what it takes to be a good parent. It IS too much for me.

But Jesus longs to meet us in the place of our weakness and give us his strength.

I think that so often, we as parents with young kids give up our times with Jesus way too easily. We feel like we don’t have the time or the energy.

It seems like we’re barely surviving, so how could we be expected to fit in a quiet time? We think we’ll get back around to our relationship with God when our life isn’t so chaotic, when we’re getting more sleep or have more free time (whenever that might be).

But the truth is, we need Jesus now more than ever. If we would take the time to slow down and sit in his presence, we would find our days somehow go a lot better.

Oh, we’ll still have many moments of feeling overwhelmed, and I’m not saying it will suddenly be easy.

But when we’re connecting with Jesus, we’re drawing from a well of strength that reaches beyond our limited capacity. We’re giving from an overflow of what we’re receiving from Jesus.

I’m not talking about spending hours upon hours reading your Bible and praying. Sometimes it’s as simple as a one-sentence prayer offered up in a moment of desperation. Sometimes it’s five minutes of sitting in silence while the kids are napping, asking God to speak to you.

God knows the limits of your life season, and He knows you can’t abandon your life responsibilities and hide away in a monastery somewhere.

But God is also inviting you to draw close to Him, to trust that He will give you everything you need to be a good parent. Not perfect, but good, and His grace will fill in where we fall short.


If you’ve struggled with having a quiet time, I’ve created a resource that I’m hopeful can help you. It’s a five day guide to simple practices that will help you connect with Jesus called “Reviving Your Quiet Time.”

For five days, you’ll receive an email each morning with some new practices to use during your quiet time. Each practice takes ten minutes or less, so it’s a great place to start if you want to take steps to grow in your relationship with God. Simply sign up here to receive this resource.

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