Lately, I’m reading the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. If you’re a tired, worn out Mama, it is full of encouragement!
One of the things I like best about the book, but can also be slightly aggravating because I like step-by-step instructions, is that instead of always giving a clear-cut prescription for raising kids, Sarah and Sally constantly point me back to God. They encourage me to turn to His Word and the world he’s created around me to learn how to parent my children well.
This is a daunting task! I like rules to follow. I like instructions! But in the last few weeks, I’ve taken up the challenge. I began by reading in the gospel of John. I don’t read a whole lot each day, just a section at a time. Every morning before I sit down to read, I ask God to show me how I can learn to be a good parent to my children from what I find there. To teach me how to lead from how He leads. And He does!
I’ve started keeping a list of the lessons I’m learning. Here’s a few of them from John 1:
“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him…” v. 10
From here I learned that there were times God’s own children didn’t recognize or acknowledge him, but I know from the rest of the story of Jesus that He pursued them anyway. There will be times my kids turn away and don’t want to acknowledge me, but I, too, need to love and pursue their hearts anyway.
“…full of grace and truth…grace upon grace…grace and truth through Jesus Christ…” vs. 14, 16, 17.
Here I learn that my relationship with my kids needs to be full of grace and truth. Yes, there are times they need discipline, but even in those times grace and a search for the truth need to be at the core.
“Behold, the Lamb of God!…” v. 36
This quote is from when John the Baptist pointed his disciples to Jesus. I need to do the same. Instead, of desiring my boys’ dependence on me, I need to constantly point them toward Jesus and allow him to hold their hands more and more as they grow older.
Those are just a few of the lessons I’m learning from John. It’s scary trying to learn how to parent from watching God, but it does help. When I’m faced with a problem or think I have a solution to a discipline issue, I think, “Would God treat me this way?”
A realization just occurred to me! Unlike most parenting books I read, God doesn’t live in the problems or in the discipline. Yes, they are a part of life, however, He concentrates more time on building relationships with His children all the time, every day. He meets me where I am and lovingly leads me to where I need to be. He walks with His me throughout the day and makes himself available. He knows me and studies me. He constantly shows me his love.
I need to do the same with my children. I need to concentrate more on the relationship and their hearts than I do on the next way to discipline them when they act up. I realize now that’s what Mae and Clarkson have been trying to teach me in their book. This whole parenting thing is more about relationships and building a unique relationship with each of our children weaving together our gifts and their gifts in day-to-day life. And there is no prescription or rule book for that.