Don't Seek From Your Parenting What God Has Provided Through Grace
What do you want most as a mom?
If someone would have asked me that years ago I would have said something like, “To raise children to love God and to serve others. To raise smart, successful adults.”
I would have said that, but it wouldn't have been the whole truth. In my mind, yes, but not in my actions—not in my heart.
As a young mom I made many decisions concerning my parenting, and the truth was deep down these decisions were not Christ-motivated. Instead:
- As a mom, I wanted the approval of others.
- As a mom, I was trying to live up to unrealistic expectationsI'd set up in my mind.
- As a mom, I was trying to earn God's approval, instead of understanding what He'd already provided through His grace.
Mom, maybe you can relate. Are you trying to seek from your parenting what God has already provided through His grace?
The right approval comes from God
I became a Christian when I was pregnant with my oldest child but somewhere along the way my zeal for the cause of Christ was pushed to the side by the hunger and praise of people. I wanted to be seen as a “good mom” by others.
“If we take our meaning in life from our family, our work, a cause, or some achievement other than God, they enslave us,” says Tim Keller. Too often I filled my schedule with activities that I thought were for my kids, but really they were to make me look good.
I was enslaved by a busy schedule in an effort to look good, but I'm thankful that over the years God reminded me who I truly serve. As I've sought God, He's helped me to adjust my thoughts and where I find my meaning.
Yes, I'm still busy. I homeschool three kids, write books, blog, speak (on occasion) and lead a teen moms support group, but deep in my heart I'm doing these things as service to God. Deep down I can tell the difference.
My kids are only involved in a few activities a week (like Sunday School and Awana) because I prayed about it and God and I feel these things will benefit them—and not because I'm trying to “keep up” with society's ideas of what kids should be involved in. I can't describe the feeling of peace that “not trying to keep up” brings.
Realistic expectations come from focusing on what's already been provided by God
When I think about it, as a mom I'll never be able to get the approval of others—ever. I can never live up to “their” ideas of what a good mom is, because everyone has a different opinion.
I don't need the approval of others to be worthy. I already have God's approval because of what Jesus has done for me and in me. God sees me and thinks, “This is my child, who I love completely. This is my daughter, and I am preparing her a heavenly home.” When I live my life out of those thoughts of approval everything changes.
“This is my child, who I love completely. This is my daughter, and I am preparing her a heavenly home.” ~God
Grace changes everything.
Somewhere on the parenting journey it became easy to focus on others. In the process, I pushed God's grace to the side. Do you find yourself doing that? Do you tend to try to take credit for the good things you do or good things you have?
"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it."
Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
Being reminded of grace brings peace to my day. I don't have to “strive” for approval. Instead, I simply have to accept what's already been given.
Some days I look around and think, “The house is a mess. I have no plans for dinner. The kids are out of control but God still loves me in this moment absolutely and completely.” I turn to God's Word and I'm reminded again and again who I'm trying to please.
"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Galatians 1:10 NIV
Approval starts with humility and faith.
This sounds wonderful—this seeking God's approval, but how do we get there?
“Faith coupled with humility is the secret to every kingdom woman's success,” says Tony Evans and Crystal Evans Hurst.
We need to have faith that as we see God first, He will guide us in our parenting. We have to be humble enough to realize that doing things God's way means not “keeping up” with the world's standards.
Now, after being a mom for 20 years, what do I want most? To seek God's approval. To look at Him first. To lift my children up to Him in prayer. To encourage the unique gifts God has given my children, and to look into His eyes and hear, “Well done.”
When I focus on God, first as a mom, He will guide me on how to raise children who do love Him first, who serve others, and who will be smart and successful (according to God's wisdom and idea of success).
And this is truly what I've wanted all along.
Points to remember:
-Seek the approval of God first.
-Ask yourself, “What are my expectations? Are they realistic?”
-Remember what God has already provided through His grace.
Need to be reminded of this?
Download this free "Parenting Grace" printable.
2. Cut out.
4. Post these truths and be reminded daily of God's grace in your parenting.
Lord, help me to seek Your approval in my parenting, and to look to You first in my decision making. Remind me often to lift my children up to You in prayer, and to encourage the unique gifts You've given my children. And, at the end of my life, may I look into Your eyes and hear you say, “Well done.”
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