Why I Stopped Belittling My Children

He’s so loving, and my children deserve parents who demonstrate as many characteristics of who He is as possible. My most important task is to point them to Him.

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It was 5:30 AM, and I was working a part-time job from home. I had just had my 4th child who barely slept long enough to survive in my opinion. It had become my normal routine to wake up, nurse him, and begin working for the day. My “home office” was a corner in our (mine, my husband’s, and baby “no sleep’s”) very tiny bedroom. I would lay my infant back down in a pack and play tucked tightly in one corner and pop in headphones to keep myself awake but everyone else asleep.

On one of those seemingly mundane mornings, I was particularly exhausted by my kids, our current sleeping arrangement, in which there was none, and life in general. It was the kind of morning that set the perfect imperfect atmosphere for the Father to speak to me.

A song then changed my life forever. It only took one line and I was shaken.


“You don’t belittle our pain and our suffering,
And You comfort us in our greatest unraveling.
(“Extravagant” by Bethel Music)


As I listened to the words, Holy Spirit flashed my kids before my eyes one by one. My oldest feeling insecure about her grades while perfectionism haunted her, my second born throwing an award-worthy tantrum about stepping on a block (her toe obviously needed amputation), my toddler screaming “Mommy, I need a snack!” for the millionth time, and my nursing baby boy whining in his sleep, longing for a few more minutes in my arms. But I didn’t just reminisce on that week’s load of cries and messes; I saw their eyes. Better yet, I could see them through His eyes.

Each one of them had “suffered” in some way that week, at least to the degree of suffering that they understood. Each time I had been too busy to condone their “unraveling.” There are so many of them (just four, which really pales in comparison to the billions of us that call God our Father) that I justified not being able to coddle every little thing that bothered them. I was teaching them to be more independent, I was teaching them to take control of their emotions, and I was teaching them to stop bothering me with the little things. What I hadn’t realized was that I was simultaneously setting them up to understand that their Heavenly Father didn’t have time for the “little things” either.

I have had my share of pain and suffering and have spent hours unraveling myself to God. I have wept, I have stomped my feet, I have been angry and confused. I have tried to believe He didn’t care, but every time, He proved to me He somehow still did. Even in my greatest confusion about His character, He never belittled my pain. He never once told me to “suck it up.”  He comforted me when I didn’t deserve it. That’s my Father, and that’s who I had not been modeling for my children.

I was truly troubled by how many times I could remember myself trying to hurry them through their unravelings, or meltdowns as I referred to them. I was disappointed that I had basically been asking them to hide their frustrations and tiny problems from me. Remembering how long it took me to truly understand how much God cared about the details of my life, I was ashamed that I had not realized how important it was for me to represent Him better.

So yet again, I unraveled, or melted down, to my Father. I repented for not being the parent He would be. I hoped that I would never do it again, but I knew it wouldn’t be an overnight fix. I had work to do, and a few minutes later, I would have the opportunity to practice the lesson I had just learned.

Baby “No Sleep” woke up in the middle of my precious time with my Father. He wanted to be held and only by me, just like every other second of his life. I was immediately frustrated at the interruption. I huffed a little to try to wake up my husband in hopes that he would offer to get him, but he continued to sleep soundly. Grudgingly, I got up, rocked my son who simply wanted my attention more than anything else, and then attempted to return to my moment of repentance. Of course, I realized that I had just literally made the same mistake I was trying to repent for before the disruption.

My heart broke again. Why couldn’t I just enjoy the cuddle and comfort of my son who felt like he needed me? I regretfully thought. I wasn’t sure how I missed the mark so quickly, but that’s what parenting had often been like for me. A decision to do something different followed by an opportunity to do that different thing and then failure to follow through. However, guess what God, my Father did? He comforted me. He let me cry again about the same thing I had just cried about moments earlier and continued to heal my pain.

I have definitely not perfected the lesson I was taught that day. I have yet to not belittle something my children have said or done in a given week because I didn’t feel it warranted my undivided attention. However, I have also had the most precious intimate moments with my kids when I chose to respond differently and allowed them to unravel in my arms. Practically, it was simply hugging them instead of waving them away so I could move onto the next “important task” I had to do.

The ultimate goal is to show them who He is more often than not. He’s so loving, and my children deserve parents who demonstrate as many characteristics of who He is as possible. My most important task is to point them to Him.



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About the Author

Kassi Russell is a wife and mom by day, and a writer by night (and in the car, or at soccer games). Kassi is originally from Greenville, SC where she and her husband met in middle school and have been married for 12 years. Her passion for writing blossomed in Atlanta, GA where her four children (ages 8, 6, 2 and 1) completed their tribe. She is currently writing a series of children's books and blogging. Along with writing she enjoys music and arts, the great outdoors, and well-written movies.