Friday, July 25, 2014

Give them Grace

Our recent Florida vacation afforded me time to start reading the first of those Christian parenting books you all recommended. I just finished Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus, by Elyse Fitzpatrick, and I highly recommend it to Christians with kids or who want kids — heck, there was so much Gospel in this book that I recommend it to those people who don't even know Jesus.

This book was all about the irresistible love of Christ and His inexplicable grace for us. Staring hard into the plan of redemption and salvation will change your heart — certainly the way you parent. The book had encouraging quotes like, "Believe that God is strong enough to save your children, no matter how you fail."

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2Corinthians2:9

The authors talk about two kinds of children: The rule follower and rule breaker and how each equally need Jesus. I am the oddball who identifies with both of these. I grew up trying to please my parents by following all the rules. I worked so hard at attaining my own salvation that, when that plan failed, I opted for rebellion. So, quotes from this book like, "She needs to hear that her desire to prove her own worthiness is one of the greatest hindrances to faith that she'll ever face," really speaks to the ache that remains in my heart from trying so hard to be God.

"Jesus Christ loves both rule breakers and rule keepers. And because of his Son's perfect obedience, both of them can be called 'beloved sons.' When the believing rule breaker sins he can look up and say, 'Jesus is my righteousness.' And when the believing rule keeper realizes her self-righteousness, she too can look up and say, 'Jesus is my righteousness.'"

I loved that the book examined what scripture says about parenting and discipline. What the book didn't do was give us legalists another list of rules to abide by to make our children perfect (darn it!). Law doesn't breed obedience and love. Which is where that grace thing comes in.

I feel guilty when I spend my five minutes of down time a day reading something other than the Bible. I didn't feel guilty reading this book because it was rich with God's word. My only complaint about the book is that some of the conversations given as examples of what parents could say to their disobedient children to point them to the gospel are a little unreasonable (even if the things they said were true). In the author's defense, she does basically point that out herself, though.

Hopefully without giving away too much, their advice for Christian parenting boils down to this:

"I would love them, discipline them, and tell them about Jesus."

Also, we'd do well to remember that we are "partners in grace" with our "dearly loved sinners."

As this week draws to a close I can't help but think how different a place I am finishing this book than when I was reading it from my beach cottage. If only life could keep that pace. I loved spending the extra time with my family. I must learn to prioritize them. And, on that note, there are some changes coming for my family, but I'm going to make you wait for my next blog post!

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