Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teach me Jesus Thursdays--Grace Based Parenting

Holding my four month old baby up to the bathroom mirror, cheek pressed against cheek, we smile at our reflections.  I take joy at his recognition of himself and the huge grin that lights up his face.  This day, a hard day, when I'm not quite sure how to tell up from down, I just start talking to our reflections. It's easy to talk to someone that will just smile back at you no matter what you say.

"You will be three one day, just like your big brother.  I don't know what I'll do, how I can love you both rightly.  I can't do it. I'm sorry.  I don't want you to grow up with holes in your heart, because of the holes I carry in mine.  I want to... I want to...(I look for the words)... I just want to raise you, to love you, perfectly."

As the words leave my mouth, it hits me.... What did I just say?  I want perfection and am frustrated that I cannot attain it.  I sense someone speaking back to me.  I hear in my heart, "You are perfect; I see perfection; let go and live in that perfection.  Not because of anything that you've done or can do, I look at you and I rejoice in the righteousness that I see.  I see Jesus and his perfection.  You cannot live in your own, live in His.  You will find rest, I will fill your holes, and you can be free."

I know that this striving in my own strength leaves me empty and worsens the holes in my heart.  I know that in order to give grace and love to my family, I must first receive it.  My hurting places need to be filled with Him, my Healer and my comfort.

"Grace-based parents spend their time entrusting themselves to Christ.  They live to know God more.  Their children are the daily recipients of the grace these parents are enjoying from the Lord.  If you watch them in action, they appear to be peaceful and very much in love with God.  They are especially graceful when their children are hardest to love." Grace-Based Parenting, Tim Kimmel

Hardest to love. Ouch.  Loving my children was somewhat easy until my oldest turned 3, at which point everything became a power struggle.  Not living in grace, I often have felt defeated at the end of the day.
I like what Christina says at To Show them Jesus, "Parenting by GRACE is a slow method, it requires that I slow down.  I can’t be in a hurry.  I have to be intentional, thoughtful, and listen to the Spirit lead and guide me.."  I feel a little comfort knowing that other's feel the same as I do. I pray for grace to slow down.

Kimmel goes on to say:
"Their advice to their children would be a mixture of : 'You are a gift from God; go make a difference.'
    and 'You may struggle doing right sometimes, but you are forgiven.'"

I'm incapable of that kind of love in myself.  Selfishness, impatience, lack of sleep, you name it, they get in the way.  When I just live to survive the day, I have nothing to offer my children.  But when I live in the grace that is so abundant, I am filled and I can give freely.

The first step of each day, of each minute,  to raising my kids to know Christ, is to know Him for myself.

I cannot say enough about the book Grace-Based Parenting.  It has spoken volumes to me about the grace of God, about receiving it for myself and about extending that grace to our children.  I think it's time I read it again!

Do you have any ideas about raising your children to know Christ?  Consider joining us at To Show Them Jesus every Thursday.

To Show Them Jesus

1 comment:

Christina said...

Man do I feel the same way. I SO want my kids to grow without the same holes I have, yet I keep poking holes in their hearts anyway. O wretched woman that I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Praise God for Christ who has set me free!

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