I wake up each morning—or rather, I am woken up by my toddler—and I already feel exhausted. Another day ahead.

“Jesus, give me strength, patience, and wisdom,” I mumble in prayer as I swing my legs off the bed. This has been the pattern for many months now: being woken up by my child, addressing a cursory thought to Jesus, then starting my day with what, to be completely honest, has been my own strength, my own patience, and my own wisdom.

Despite my quick prayer, I realise I have been trying to meet the daily pressures and social expectations of a 21st-century mother alone.

In the quest to be the best parent I can be, I have read countless articles and devotions, listened to numerous podcasts and sermons, and unceasingly sought advice from godly friends.

The foundation of godly parenting begins with our own discipleship.

While all of this has been helpful and I’m grateful for the access to information we have today, there appeared to be no end to my quest.

The more I searched, the more there was to learn, and the more opinions and advice there was to wade through.

And the answers never seemed to speak to my heart—they never felt like they were enough.

It seemed that I was searching for answers in a black hole, caught up in a vortex of well-meaning advice.

It was then I realised that despite my efforts to learn from Christ-focused, biblically-grounded resources and from God-fearing men and women, I had put my Bible and my own relationship with God on the shelf.

The Quest For Good Parenting

Interestingly, the term “parenting” is relatively new. Coined only in the early 1900s, since the 1970s it has become a multi-billion-dollar industry and one of the most lucrative branches of the self-help sector.

As we try to navigate the constantly changing challenges of parenting in the 21st century, it is natural for Christian parents to seek to increase our knowledge on parenting.

Whether from Christian books or parenting podcasts, there is no shortage of material put together by well-credentialed Christians for our benefit.

Of course, we cannot ignore the biblical call to excellence when it comes to parenting.

I realise I have been trying to meet the daily pressures and social expectations of a 21st-century mother alone.

The Lord has specifically given to us the task of raising our children (e.g., “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”, Ephesians 6:4).

However, we would be overestimating ourselves and underestimating our task if we think the key to successful parenting is reading about it.

We should take care not to confuse what we think we know about God with actually getting to know Him better.

God doesn’t want to be studied; He wants to be known.

Even the best parenting strategies will not work unless they are carried out by people whose identities are anchored in God through an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.

The foundation of godly parenting begins with our own discipleship.

Building The Relationship With God

How much time are we spending in Scripture? In prayer? In conversation with spouses about our spiritual, emotional, and parenting lives?

These are all more important questions than whether we’ve read the latest New York Times bestseller on parenting.

If we want to be free from our daily burdens and walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh, we need to be connected to the divine, never-ending source of power.

While practical tips and informed opinions are valuable, unless they are understood and practised through a relationship with God and with the understanding of what Christ has done for us on the cross, no amount of self-help knowledge or well-meaning advice will turn us into good parents.

Having a relationship with God means spending time with Him, like we would with a friend or our spouse.

We need to pray, praise, and read Scripture.

Podcasts, Bible studies, and books can all be helpful, but we must always come back to growing our personal, individual relationship with God.

I now feel led to remind my tired fellow parents that there is a difference between studying what others say about God’s Word, and studying God’s Word itself.

The Bible is not just God’s love letter to us. It is also the greatest blueprint for every aspect of life, including parenting.

Whether it is about how we can live out the fruits of the Spirit, navigate the uncertainty of our times, or rest in Jesus’ promise and assurance of our identity in Him, the Bible provides us not just with this blueprint for parenting, but with the supernatural fuel to be the best parents we can be.

My Own Discovery

My own quest to be the best parent I can be has brought me to the feet of Jesus.

Time and time again I have felt the Spirit nudging me to go back to the Word, to what God has said about who I am and what He has tasked me with.

I made every excuse under the sun (and as parents, we have quite the list!), but finally was led to spend my precious morning time with my Maker, the one who knows me best.

Getting up before my son has been a huge effort, but I have realised that there is something more precious than an extra 30 minutes of sleep: my relationship with God.

He is the one who speaks life into my tired bones, who defines my identity, who provides daily hope, and who gives me the strength, patience, and wisdom that I so desperately crave.

I need Jesus to make it through each day, and I don’t want to begin one without Him.

If we want to be free from our daily burdens and walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh, we need to be connected to the divine, never-ending source of power.

We today are more time-poor than we’ve ever been before.

As a result, it’s easy to drift into the error of racing through a devotion, blog, or article, or listening to a podcast at double speed, to get our daily dose of God-time.

Podcasts, Bible studies, and books can all be helpful, but we must always come back to growing our personal, individual relationship with God.

While these things are useful, they can never be substitutes for time spent studying God’s Word and talking with Him. Expert and experienced parenting opinions are helpful, but we need Jesus first.

Let’s remember that the foundation of both our parenting and our identity is our relationship with Christ.

His truth supersedes all expert opinion, for it contains transformative power. The world is in need of a Saviour, not another theory.

And we are blessed to not just know about Him, but to truly know Him more each day.