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Posts Tagged ‘discipline’

There’s always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. Graham Greene

From the beginning, my ideas about parenting were flawed. I thought of it almost like a mathematical formula. If Dave and I just plugged in the right amount of love, guidance, and opportunity then our kids would follow Christ unswervingly, rebuff mainstream culture, and discover their passion in life. Rebellion? Struggles with identity? Not a chance–after all, a(b)=ab.

Of course, you already know how wrong my assumptions were. Even when Dave and I do everything we can to keep our children from hardship or lead them toward a faith in Christ, they  need to make their own choices, decisions–even mistakes. Just like we did (and do).

But, I believe those choices and mistakes will result in something more beautiful and powerful than I could have imagined. The one who is struggling to understand how (and if) his faith intersects with life? He’ll embrace Christ and discover his purpose–the reason he was created–when God draws Him close; not because his mother made the decision for him. And the boy who wants to do everything perfectly? He’ll encounter freedom in amazing ways. Freedom from unattainable standards. Freedom from concern. Freedom in Christ–because of Christ.

This doesn’t let me off the hook in any way. Being a parent means I continue to invest my love, time, and limited abilities in the lives of my children every day. But, I need to take a deep breath and remember that if there were a simple parenting formula then I wouldn’t need to rely on God in this messy, wonderful, overwhelming business of raising children.

Instead, I’m on my knees, in prayer, and dependant on the One who loves my children even more than I do.

3 Reminders for Stressed Parents

God knows our children intimately

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
   The days of my life all prepared
      before I’d even lived one day. (Psalm 139-15:16)

When we don’t know what to do for our children, rely on the promises of Scripture

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Trust God’s decision to put these children in your care.  He will work through our parenting–despite our imperfection.

God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.

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I can imagine the perfect woman for my husband–and she is not me.  Now, I’m not suggesting I would rather Dave be married to someone else.  What I am saying is that if I were his best friend, parent, or sibling I would have expected him to marry someone unlike me.

Dave’s perfect wife  would  eagerly anticipate the next shared hike together, certain she could conquer the ragged terrain of any mountain.  This someone would engage in political debates, enjoy running in marathons, and read Time magazine.

Instead Dave chose a woman who’s afraid of heights, rarely reveals her political affiliation, and prefers a relaxing walk on the beach to the rush of endorphins at the end of a five-mile run.  And my favorite reading material?  Think Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina.  I don’t remember when I read Time last.

But, Dave didn’t want perfect–he wanted me.  And, after all of our years together, he still does.  The remarkable part of all this is Dave is more aware of my flaws, faults, and foibles than during the early years of our marriage.  He sees me clearly.

My dislike for closet doors haphazardly left open?  Dave hears about it regularly.  The temper that flares when we disagree about discipline?  He’s been an object of that anger.  My high-maintenance food ordering habits?  If the avocado is fresh than I’ll have the southwestern burger, if not then I’d like the patty melt with the onion straws on the side but no cheese.  Yes, Dave is aware of this hang-up.  (He says I’m discerning; not picky.)

Despite knowing me as intimately as he does, Dave loves me all the more.  What, then, is principle number three?  Accept your husband for who he is.  You cannot change him.  When you are convinced your husband needs to change, begin praying the Lord will change you.

3 Ways to Demonstrate Acceptance Toward Your Husband

  • Talking Trash–Have you been around a group of women lately?  Don’t join their “My Husband is an Idiot Club”.  Honor him with words of affirmation–even when he isn’t nearby.

             Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others upEphesians 4:29

  • Point of Reference–Extend grace and mercy to the husband you have pledged to love.

             Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. Ephesians 5:21

  • Practically Speaking-  Just put the lid down yourself.  He won’t mind and it will make you happy!

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“I thought I would be the perfect mother. Then, I had children.”

The words drifted from the cars’ speakers as I pushed the dashboard button. I smiled, agreeing inwardly. I remembered all of the dreams I had of being that sort of mother, too. My goal wasn’t lofty. Angry words? Never. Consistency of discipline? Always. Great attitude? Every day.
You may have guessed…I haven’t come close to living up to my ideal. I’ve regretted words, failed to know how to discipline, and feel overwhelmed or irritated on a regular basis. Do you relate?
In my shortcomings, I’m reminded that God is the perfect parent. His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). If I rely on His word, turn to Him for understanding, and trust His direction for the children He has given me then I can give up the idea of parenting perfectly. I’ll do my best and trust that God–the One who is perfection–is working in their lives despite and through my imperfection.

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