The bedtime routine with our three boys usually culminates with a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible.
Well, several weeks ago, when it came time to choosing the Bible story for the night, our youngest son, Owen, decided to go right back to the beginning of his Bible and choose the creation story.
So we read about how God created everything out of nothing. How He simply spoke, and whatever He said happened.
At the end of this incredible story, I asked my boys, “Wow! If God can do that, is there anything He can’t do?”
And to my surprise my middle son Brennan answered, “Yes mom, there is something God can’t do!"
“Really?” I asked, curious (and mildly concerned) about what my son thought God can’t do.
But to my delight, Brennan, with a big smile spreading across his face exclaimed, “Mom, God can’t stop loving us!”
I love my seven-year old son’s child-like faith. He is still so sure of God’s love for Him. And I am passionate about helping him, and his brothers, hold onto that assurance, in the days and years ahead, as they become more aware of their fallen nature and face their sin and failure.
I want my children to know, from the depths of their soul, the extravagant love of God for them on their best and worst day of trusting and obeying.
But in order for me to do that, in order for me to show them Jesus and give them grace, I first have to be able to accept God’s grace for me. (Not an easy thing to do!)
See, I think that motherhood, unlike almost anything else in our lives, can expose the depths of our hearts. Both the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful parts. We never knew we could love like motherhood allows us to love, and yet we never knew we could feel as desperate as motherhood makes us feel.
I’ve yet to meet a mom who hasn’t known the desperation of parenting and felt overwhelmed by the significant influence she has on her kids.
We all feel the pressure to get it all right so our kids turn out all right.
Who we know we are and who we feel we “should” be is at war within us, so we struggle to accept grace for ourselves.
I know. Because I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to make it easier for God to love me but a few key things I’m learning are changing everything:
1. I’m learning God doesn’t love me more on my good days – when I always speak with kindness and I never lose my temper and I look deep into my kid’s eyes every time they need me.
2. I’m learning God doesn’t love me less on my bad days – when I lose my temper before the kids even get out the door in the morning, when I spend more time staring at my iPhone than I do staring in their eyes, and when my words don’t always speak truth in love.
3. And I’m learning what it feels like to live in the freedom of that love! Because this freedom from trying harder and doing more to earn and keep God’s love and acceptance is for each and every one of us. God’s grace- given freely in the life, death and resurrection of Christ- is for you and for me! (Eph 2:4-10)
And the best news is, this extravagant grace doesn’t leave us where it found us! In experiencing the wholehearted love of God, our hearts are led to repentance and transformation!
Friends, I’m still very much stumbling through this parenting thing, but I’ve been so set free in the truth that it is God’s uncontainable grace, not our perfect performance as parents, that will captivate and shape the hearts of our children.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that we did today or we will do tomorrow that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38-39)
In the wise words of my son, Brennan, “God can’t stop loving us!” And that is the good news we can daily give to our kids.
Jeannie is the author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work, and her background combines counseling, writing, and speaking about parenting and adoption for organizations such as Bethany Christian Services and the National Council for Adoption. Jeannie serves on the board of Raising Boys Ministries. She also serves as the Council Co-Chairman at Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT, where she enjoys leading parenting groups and Bible studies when she isn’t cheering on her boys at one of their sporting events. Connect with Jeannie through her blog, www.jeanniecunnion.com.
Your kids aren't perfect. And you don't have to be either.
Are you exhausted from the pressure to be a perfect parent raising perfect children in this imperfect world? Do you ever wonder, 'How did these precious children get stuck with a parent like me?' If so, let these grace-drenched pages saturate your heart with God's unfailing love while also equipping you to be a vessel of God's unconditional love to your children.
Parenting the Wholehearted Child equips you with biblical wisdom and practical ideas to teach your children that they are fully accepted by God, not because of anything they do or don't do but because of everything Jesus has already done for them.
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