Relying on God’s Grace
With three children about to fly the nest, I have much experience in the trenches as a parent. What I know for sure is that parenting is the toughest, most heart wrenching, yet most rewarding job there is. Too often as a parent I am tempted to focus on my imperfections and beat myself up for the many ways I have and continue to fall short. Slowly, however, I’m learning to focus instead on God’s grace. Here are some things that I have learned in the past 22 years as a parent that I hope can encourage you today.
Grace on Display
Children want to imitate their parents. As parents, we cannot expect our children to act in a way that we don’t or to be held to a standard that we ourselves don’t keep. If we want our children to be excited about going to church, reading the Bible, attending Sunday school, etc. we should examine our own faith walk.
- Am I personally spending time in God’s Word?
- Do we as a couple have a joyful attitude about worship?
- Are the fruits of the Spirit displayed to our own family members?
Ouch, these questions can be so convicting! I’ve learned that my actions certainly speak louder than my lectures! “I’ve learned that my actions certainly speak louder than my lectures“
“I’ve learned that my actions certainly speak louder than my lectures“
Grace in Action
Leading our kids in God’s Word doesn’t need to be elaborate. Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs parents that we are to talk to our children of godly things, “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Basically, we are to make God the center of our entire day and are to invite Him into the everyday functions of our lives. We don’t have to prepare a 30 minute sermon to teach our kids about a concept from the Bible. However, we can take the time to do the following:
- Pray with our kids about an upcoming test or issues they’re having with their friends
- Look together into the Bible to see what God has to say about relationships with others
- Talk with our kids about forgiveness and model it
- Ask our children what they have questions about in life
God’s Word is dynamic and there are answers within it to every problem or issue we are experiencing in our lives.
Grace in Failure
Let your kids see you fail. Be transparent and ask for their forgiveness. As a perfectionist, I’ve been humbled many times by my children when they point out my imperfections, especially when I expect them to behave in a certain way, etc. I think we can all relate to arguing the whole way to church and then pasting that “Sunday smile” on our face as we enter the church doors, pretending that we have it all together and are a “perfect Christian family.” Ha-ha, even typing that false phrase makes me chuckle. My kids need to know that I’m an imperfect sinner struggling to raise three other sinners. I’ve found that when I mess up and go to my kids or husband and admit my shortcomings and apologize for the ways I’ve wronged them, they’re much more responsive than if I try to pretend like I’ve got it all together. “My kids need to know that I’m an imperfect sinner struggling to raise three other sinners“
“My kids need to know that I’m an imperfect sinner struggling to raise three other sinners“
Grace in Laughter
Take the time to have fun with your children. Be willing to laugh at yourself! Be silly, plan fun activities, go on adventures with your kids and make memories with them. Also, never underestimate the power of embarrassing your kids a little bit by being a goofball in public. One time while on a family vacation and spending time in an airport, I started to dance a goofy dance. My oldest daughter was mortified at the time, but still talks about the time that “mom embarrassed me so much by dancing in the airport.” When she tells the story, she has a twinkle in her eye, so I don’t think I’ve scarred her beyond repair.
God’s Grace is All Sufficient
Realize that God’s grace for you as a parent is all-sufficient. As a mom of three kids who are soon to graduate (one from high school and two from college) I find myself tempted to look back with regret about all of the things I could and should have done better or differently as a parent. But before I beat myself up too badly, God’s Holy Spirit whispers to me, “I’ve got them, Amy. Yes, you are an imperfect parent, but that’s why you need to lean into me, the perfect Father. I love you and your kids more than you can imagine! Trust me to fill in the gaps where you’ve failed. Look to me to give you the peace that your discontented heart is searching for. My grace is sufficient for you, even you!” “Realize that God’s grace for you as a parent is all-sufficient“
“Realize that God’s grace for you as a parent is all-sufficient“