Monday, December 03, 2007

Living by Grace in the Here and Now

(What follows below is an email I edited from Audrea to one our friends who was recently sharing with Audrea some hard parenting struggles she was going through. It was such an encouragement to me, I know that some of you who read my blog would be encouraged by it also.)

Many parents often talk about the challenges of the "terrible 2's." Angry and unconsolable children who can only be left to cry in their cribs are definite examples of why it seems at times that you may be going crazy! As Audrea listened to her friend, it sounded like what she has been encountering is so very normal for us. But for her, she seemed to think these behaviors of her child weren't normal or perhaps thought that she was doing something wrong because otherwise this behavior wouldn't be happening.

Why do we tend to think that if our day goes "against the plan", we feel like we've failed and our kids are monsters? There are two realities we must remind ourselves of in these moments. First, sin has damaged us, our children, and the whole child rearing process; fighting against this curse is not easy--in a sense we both are monsters. Second, and the harder pill to swallow, is that it is our calling to go through this process and God doesn't call us to something His grace won't enable us to do.

In these situations, what we need most is the Grace of Wisdom the Grace that covers our failures, and the Grace to carry on. This grace of wisdom is the wisdom to know what to do and when to do it and when to stop doing it, the sensitivity to hearing His voice, and wisdom again for the next task. In addition to the Grace of Wisdom, you must cling to God who has given you both the grace that pardons your sin, who does not treat you as your sin deserves, and rewards you when you don't deserve it. Know that His grace covers over your parenting failures!! That is such a comfort to us! We can't screw up our children so far that we remove them from His plan for their life or ours! Trust in the grace that He's extended to you. Really take it to home so that when you lay on your pillow at night you are praising Him for His grace today not flogging yourself for your perceived failures. Tomorrow, when you're in a rested mood, THEN look back on today and ask His counsel in learning from it, but from the full assurance of His grace. THEN you're in a mindset to please Him with that grace, not trample on it and go the other way. Revel in God's grace that abounds so richly!

And even though you may totally botch it, the grace to carry on is that enabling power to persevere that He has promised to give us. He planned it and chose that circumstance purposely for all of His creation at that time--because you don't know who or how it will effect in the future, but He wanted it there. So you can't really say, "Oh! I should have chosen ________ yesterday!" because He ordained you choose it yesterday for "your joy and for His own glory," as we're teaching the kids. Pray earnestly for His wisdom so that when a moment comes up, you'll know what pleases Him for that moment. And again, trust His grace when you've gone and done it and wished you would have followed different advice! Praise Him for the grace of tomorrow, and if not, the joy of His eternal glory instead! Hey--it's a no lose situation!

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