If you have been a parent for more than like five minutes, then you know bad days, maybe even weeks or years. As children get older, their activity, attitude, and personality collide with yours and quite frankly, makes you crazy. I am not talking about normal bad behavior or even disobedience. I am talking bad days that seem to last for an eternity. We have experienced this with both Ty and Claire. We have had sleepless nights, dye sensitivity aggression, and embarrassing public poo moments, all of which make you question why you became a parent in the first place! Don’t judge, just being honest ;)! It is tough being a parent, even if your child has moments where you think they are angels. But why do we have to experience bad days? Why can’t it be all dolls, baseball, mud puddles, and bubbles? Why must we suffer as parents?
Let me share a personal story that happened earlier this week and then I will give you something to consider when it comes to the bad days of parenting (Or really bad days for anything you do.) I was shopping in Walmart, buying supplies for our student ministry and getting some household items like dog de-wormer, motor oil, and kids toothpaste; you really don’t know how random of shoppers we are. Sadly, this is the norm. Once again don’t judge me!!! As I was between picking up some dart parts and toothpaste, I heard the most awful noise known to man. It sounded like either a grizzly bear being beat to death with a sock full of phone books or a T-rex being dipped in hot lava. Either way, it was loud and drawing attention. I went forward a few aisles and discovered a young girl being held by her mom. The little girl was crying and yelling at the top of her lungs. Her mom, as you might imagine looked mortified and making excuses for her daughters behavior. The mother said that the girl had autism and was worried that people thought she was abusing her daughter. I couldn’t really imagine what either one was feeling or thinking in that moment; even though my kids have thrown fits before in public and embarrassed me (Which is doing something, because I don’t embarrass easily.) As I finished up shopping and heading to my truck, I was reflecting on that moment.
I realized something, as bad as the days I have experienced have been, it was nothing compared to that. Being able to compare bad days is NOT the purpose of your bad days, but compassion, empathy, and love are. It would be easy to look down my nose at them, call names, or berate the mother, but instead I felt sorry for the pain they were experiencing. The fatherly nature in me wanted to run in to help and comfort. All the bad days that my wife and I’ve had make us sympathetic to those around us having bad days or worse days. I believe we experience bad days so we can grieve with those who are hurting and suffering. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought until I had walked a similar path as a dad. In a moment that could have been filled with condescension and pride, was actually filled with sadness and empathy.
I believe Jesus did the same thing with His ministry on earth. He was close to the broken hearted, he wept with friends, and attended to the needy. He never rushed judgment on the hurting. Jesus was loving, gracious and empathetic to those around Him, even though He was perfect. We may not change the world, but we can make a difference in people’s lives when we are patient, loving, gracious and long-suffering when people are having bad days. Don’t be so quick to run away from your bad days either. God may be using them as part of your story that points more people to Him. Your bad day may actually be a way someone experiences restoration from the pain they are experiencing!
Had a bad day recently? Bad Month? Bad Season? What are you learning from it? Who might benefit from you sharing your experience with them? I would love to hear about it. Also, if you need prayer, I would love to pray for you. Just let me know how.
Grace and Peace to you as you navigate bad days and learn to be empathetic to those suffering around you.