It's no secret that parenting is hard. Despite giving every single thing I have, I'm still not convinced I'm doing it right.
And yet, God gives me a little nudge that says,
I am almost three years into this motherhood thing, and I know I have come a long way. I've learned more of God's grace from my little girls than from all my years of Bible School. Yes, there are many days when I want to kick, scream, and run away. The whole day is filled with frustrations. The girls aren’t listening. They don’t obey. They talk back or, as my almost three year likes to do, puts her ‘talk to my hand’ up and says with much attitude “NO”.
They don’t want to pick up their toys or eat their food that I just took so much effort into cooking. Then there comes the days when exhaustion kicks in and I join their whining and fuss back at them. After such encounters I am always sorry and ask for forgiveness. Without fail they always forgive me. They smile back at me with much love, embrace me with the sweetest hug, and then quickly return to playing as if it never happened.
This is how God shows us His grace. He never faults us. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. It is getting a pass on what you really had coming. In saying that I would say this is also how He would like us to parent, as God parents us to be like Him. So if God trusts grace to work in parenting me, I should be able to trust grace to work in the parenting of my daughters.
For example I could yell at my daughters for coloring on the walls and they could learn obedience out of fear. I could even take away their crayons for a certain period of time, but they would only learn consequences (Which I am a huge advocate for by the way!). In real life there are consequences for your actions and they need to understand that. However, there are times I can teach grace by letting them know what they did was wrong, making certain they fully understand and accept that it wasn’t okay, and with that same loving embrace let them know that I forgive them.
The example of the prodigal son rings ever true of this kind of parenting. The Father is the best picture of God. He had all the right to tell his son off and reject him, but as we know the son didn’t get treated as he deserved, but as God would have treated him.
In the line of fathers, I cannot begin to say how thankful I am for my husband and the grace he shows me when I am so undeserving of it. As his wife I want to do the same to show the love of God in our marriage to him, and as an example as parents to our girls. There is a little switch in my head that can flip every time he comes home from a long day at work and just drops his clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the basket... or at least near the basket. Or when he forgets to pick up something I asked him to grab on the way home from work. I’m not sure if all wives have a switch like this, but I know I do. With the best of my ability I try to refrain from flipping it because I know what’ll happen to me.
If I flip the switch then I stop viewing my husband with respect and admiration. Now if this happens, it is easy for me to be unforgiving and bitter resulting in us just being two people living under the same roof, parenting together, but pretty much living like roommates. That is not how God intended it to be nor is it how I would want my marriage to be.
In order to keep that flip from switching I remember the grace God has extended to me, the one who is a sinner and imperfect herself. And then I think about my man who is commanded to love me in my imperfections. I want his grace as well as his love. So I have to stop expecting him to read my mind, decode my body language, and meet all my needs. Of course none of this comes easy to our natural flesh and that is why it’s so important to be walking in the Spirit so we are growing in things like grace.
Grace continues to be the primary lesson the Lord is having me learn during this wonderful journey of being a family. As you read and have seen in your own lives, it is accompanied by the lessons of selflessness, humility, and patience. I am so thankful for the changed person I am becoming, even though the lessons aren’t always easy.