Saturday, March 10, 2012

Give Them Grace

It was my goal this year to read loads of books both fiction and non fiction, and I must say that 2012 has started off stellar. I received quite a few books for Christmas which has helped propel me up to this point. I have loved them all.

So far Kisses from Katie, Night, To Kill a Mockingbird, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Real Marriage, Future Men and The Help have all been read; however, the one that has been picked up and put down, pause, and repeat has been Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Give Them Grace is a parenting book that has challenged me to the core, so much that I've literally had to put it down and walk away and read something else, on numerous occasions.

You see I'm a control freak at heart and comfort is what I think is good for my soul. Reading through simply the introduction and chapter one left me reeling and thinking, so what can I do? You know, the checklist for "Christian" Parenting, could somebody give me that? Oh, and be sure to include the additions that tell me what to do with kids that flail, scream, and wail in public, because that's embarrassing. That's what I want, and probably what most moms want, although we would never be able to follow all the rules. Our mindset (because its what we've been taught and seen used over and over again), as Fitzpatrick says in her book is, "good parenting in, good children out." Every parenting book is a list of rules that I will ultimately fail to fulfill. In all honesty, I don't want to raise moralist little boys who can say all the right things and do all the right things without having a heart transformation-but my actions don't always reflect that attitude. Any one feel like me? "JUST OBEY"-followed by pleading in my mind that it would work out.

"We simply don't believe that God is good enough to entrust with our children's souls or that he's wise enough to know what will make us ultimately happy and satisfied. We have far too high a view of our ability to shape our children and far too low a view of God's love and trustworthiness (Fitzpatrick 57)"

After many attempts at getting through even the beginning, God in his grace toward me has broken through. I am reading with a glad heart and willing Spirit, slowly. It's a paradigm shift in parenting that goes from law crushing to grace giving... and pretty mind blowing. By "tethering every aspect of parenting to the gospel message" and "applying the truths of the incarnation, sinless life, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, ascension, reign, and return of the Lord Jesus Christ" we begin to get at what it means for us to nurture our children in the Lord. By lavishing them with the grace of Jesus, that believers have been shown, our children will understand more and more of their need for a Savior. Children are rule breakers at heart, and so are adults-we don't need more law, we need more grace. Thankfully that is found in Jesus-when I don't pour on grace, discipline in love, show patience and kindness and my children don't obey or share and choose to hit-He came. He died. He rose.

"When in great relief from excruciating agony of soul he declared, "It is finished," it really was. This is the message that we and our children need to hear over and over again (Fitzpatrick 81)."

Amen and Amen. Thank you Elyse Fitzpatrick for your amazing book and thank you Jesus.

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