I've been a parent now for 14 years (and then some). With every year that passes, every new event that I move through with my kids, I am learning more and more about God and how much He loves me (and, yes, puts up with me). I don't think it's a mistake that one of God's favorite references to us is as His children. He knew what we would be like when He created us.
I think about that every time I catch myself saying to one of my kids, "You just need to listen to what your mom and I are telling you. It may not make sense but we know what is best for you. Until you've been through some things, you'll never understand why it is better this way." I just have to smile. I know God is thinking the same about me. I know He gets frustrated having to explain Himself or having to watch my disobedience. I also know that, like any good parent, He hurts and cries when I don't get it right or I am forced to go through something that is painful.
I remind myself that, as much as I love my kids, God loves me that much more and far deeper. And, just as I do with my four, I am reminded by Him that the safest place to be when I have failed is close to Him. It's there that I will be lovingly corrected, forgiven and restored. It's there that the guilt will be removed. It's there that I will find the direction to live this life with more purpose and less chaos. It's there that I belong.
This is what the Lord says--your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." Isaiah 48:17 NIV