God created me, Christin, to be an encourager. That's how I was built. Encouraging others comes naturally for me. I have a deep desire to show compassion in this way. (I believe compassion is shown in various ways).
When I was a new mother, I read all sorts of parenting books. There was one in particular that people raved about and mixing it with the past my husband and I came out of, we dove right into using many of the tactics. Some of them were fine. But over the years, some of the stuff I picked up from this book was counter to who I was.
The author convinced me that showing any kind of mercy or compassion toward my child was a sign of "weakness" in my parenting. I needed to get my emotions out of my disciplining. And I believed it. When my children didn't give me the promised results the book laid out, I only grew more frustrated. My lack of compassion turned to anger. (It's hard to not show any emotion!)
Looking back, I now believe that is totally counter to who God created me to be. And now, I have to unlearn these parenting tactics that I've grown into over the years.
Children represent one of the greatest gifts God has given humanity. They can teach us so much about life if we choose to listen. God has given us the gift of compassion. We all have compassion in us, the question is, what's its form when it comes out?
Mine is encouragement.
Yours might be great patience. It might be speaking gently rather than yelling.
Don't misunderstand. The message I share isn't to not discipline or correct your children. Rather, through these things show your children the compassion and forgiveness that has been extended to you.
It's no secret that men and women are built differently. Embrace the femininity of being a woman. Allow that to overflow into your mothering because it's what makes you uniquely your children's mother. Obviously there are some sides of being feminine you'll want to learn to control, ahem. But overall, we were created with a nurturing nature.
Nurturing our children with love, compassion, affection, and kind words is not going to make them heathens who believe sin is OK. Unfortunately, it's a prevalent belief among some Christians who are run by the law and no grace.
I know because I mothered that way. It's awful because somehow you have this false belief that if you parent perfectly, you'll have perfect children.
But who parents perfectly? Certainly not I! My first mistake is believing I can have perfect children. When I let go of this lie, my frustrations and anger can dissolve. Compassion can then find it's way through.
I believe compassion is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. They need a cheerleader, not a chastiser who only points out faults and never sees fruit.
Joy in Christ,
Christin Joyful Mothering