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Give them Grace…

Isn’t it amazing that a hundred people can read the same book
and their “take aways” are completely different?
I’d love to share with you what Give Them Grace spoke to me.

I started reading it months and months ago,
but after several chapters I put it down.
I have to do that with some books…to give myself time to digest what I’ve read so far.

Honestly, it was pressing on me in all the uncomfortable ways.
I read the chapter on Idolatry and it overwhelmed me and took me a couple of months to absorb.

The author said,
“Our idolatry is a symptom of a deeper problem: unbelief.
We raise our kids’ success and our parenting techniques to the status of godhead
 because of our unbelief.
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 subconsciously hope that by our “righteousness,” we will obligate God
 to make everything turn out the way we want.”

The Lord has been faithful in the past couple of years to show me this idol in my heart.
Since the beginning, every heart has been drawn to the law.
Our hearts run toward rules….mine does for sure.
It is so easy to parent our kids this way because, lets face it,
it makes us feel good when they make it look like we know what we’re doing.
It’s a false sense of knowing the condition of their hearts.

We know that even the most outwardly obedient children
are depraved and in need of Christ’s redemption,
yet we often find so much confidence and satisfaction from those obedient children.

It’s also easy because we all want our kids to leave our homes one day
emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy and whole.
If we have hard stories ourselves, we don’t want that for our kids.
We {especially us mamas} can be guilty of taking on the burden of feeling
wholly responsible for our kids and how they ultimately turn out.
Before we know it, idolatry has set up in our hearts.
We trade the truth of knowing that it is Jesus at work in their lives for the lie that it is all up to us.

We make how they turn out about our time spent with them..
about our prayers for them…
about how much we expose them to solid teaching of the scriptures.
about how much we play with them…listen to them…provide for them.
Most of us walk around feeling enormous amounts of guilt because we feel we can never do enough.
Our focus in parenting has become about us and our children bringing us glory.
Here’s a truth that we all need to be reminded of over and over and over again.
We’re not enough and we never will be.

Their salvation and their wholeness isn’t up to us.
All throughout the scriptures we see righteous parents who raised children who became wicked.
Likewise, we also see wicked parents who raised children who were faithful followers of Christ.
The truth that brings me peace is knowing that
Their salvation comes from the Lord.

The greatest thing we can do for our children is to pray for them
and to announce the extravagant love of the Lord to them as often as possible in raising them
and encourage them, as much as we can, to believe it.

My prayer for my own heart is that I would continue to ask Jesus to help me fully grasp his grace
that is so undeserved yet so freely given.
The more I understand grace for my own life,
the more I am able to parent my children in his amazing grace.

Belief in my own abilities is gut-wrenchingly (is that a word?) exhausting and it leaves me hopeless.
It is kind of the Lord to demolish our confidence in our own strength and our own abilities.
Sometimes he does that for us in parenting because it is such an area of temptation to make it about us.

This book reminded me that our joy as parents is not dependent on our ability to parent our kids well.
“God’s smile on us is not contingent upon anything other than the record of the beloved Son.
It is based on our belief that Jesus has already done it all perfectly for us.
Grace simply means resting in Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

This book left me wanting to grow more and more in the grace and knowledge
 of our Lord Jesus Christ.
{2 Peter 3:18}

{thankful for}
466. grace that is free.
467. My children and their stories belong to God, and he can be trusted.
468. lunch with a friend.
469. two more days until Andy gets home from Nicaragua!!!

Jackie at Roots and Wings - Oh my…what freeing and true (and timely) words!
I imagine there are many of us who need to be reminded of this right about now. Thank you!
And I think I need to read this book. :)

Laura at By the Bushel - Thanks Tara… :) So true, friend.

Alicia - i'm reading this book too and just finished that chapter yesterday…i loved that chapter. what an eye-opener! wow! there's parts of this book so far that i'm like…um…not gonna do that. like comparing a meltdown in the parking lot to Jesus' choosing to go to the cross for us. i feel like…well, they just need to not run into the parking lot…i just don't really want much more explanation than that…does that make sense? but overall, i'm really liking this book. can't wait to finish it!!

slip4 - Thanks so much. Tears while reading this…I have been beating myself up that our daughter, raised in church and given as much guidance as we could, has decided that she doesn't believe…long story, it stems from losing her best friend at 15 to cancer. It is so upsetting. I'll keep praying that God will hold on to her even when she isn't holding on to Him.

GLENDA CHILDERS - So much truth here.

Now I want to read this book.

I am pondering now … what are ways that we can help our kids (when young) have a stronger sense of their own relationship with God? Pop over for coffee … Tara, Alicia and all you sweet bloggers. Bet we could talk about this for awhile.

Eleanor - I suspect that the idolatry issue is an ongoing battle. I have very spirited children and I decided long ago that if I was not responsible for their rebellion then I was also not responsible for their successes. But goodness it is hard to remember to give God the glory when people tell me nice things about my kids. And grace? Oh my house needs more of that. I want to read that book.

Sheri - yes.yes.yes.

Patti - Tara,
That was so well put. One of my biggest stresses as a mom is that I am not being 'enough', doing 'enough', giving 'enough'…thanks for the reminder that HE is 'enough'. =)

Tricia - I've never heard of that book, but now I'm really interested since it sounds like it made such an impression on you. Hmmm…sounds like lots to think about.

Miss Gracie's House - Excellent! I only wish I would have thought like this when I had babies…but then again…it's ALL grace:)

Cheryl - Great post. I am echoing Miss Gracie that posted. I too wish I had this thought when my kiddos were younger.

LLH Designs - Ever since "meeting" you in blog land, I've noticed that our book taste is very similar. I haven't read this one, but I agree with this line completely: "Our idolatry is a symptom of a deeper problem: unbelief." Amen and amen. I'm always asking the Lord to help me with my unbelief. Loving you from afar, sweet blog friend! xo!

theelizabethhighsmith - Beautiful, thank you

Bettsi McComb - Oh boy, that is powerful stuff. Thank you so much for reminding us of this truth. It is so hard to let go of our grip, isn't it? And our grip is the lie. Thank you.

Tiffini - I read this yesterday and didn't really have the words to comment at the time.
and I still don't have the words to express how much I loved what you wrote. I LOVE hearing your heart from time to time.
THIS book is SO what we need as the church…all of the activity and committees at churchs today just stroke our already fleshly "works" mindset. To do enough..etc for God to love us.

separating myself from all of that "system" has helped me heal and grow closer to God than anything else I have ever done. Sounds strange but oh so true…for me.
Anyway – I am out the door in a sec but really wanted you to know how much I value your heart and thank you for being vulnerable enough to share it
all my love

Kim B. - Oh was this FREEING to read!! I LOVED this: Their salvation and their wholeness isn't up to us.
All throughout the scriptures we see righteous parents who raised children who became wicked.
Likewise, we also see wicked parents who raised children who were faithful followers of Christ. My oldest son is away at college. Not only am I praying that he would remian firm on his foundation, I'm also praying that God would bring him a Godly girl to encourage & support his beliefs too :)

jeanine - Wow, thank you for this post! I needed this.

leslie - All I can say is WOW! I was meant to read this TODAY! I can't remember how I stumbled upon your blog but I remember the first post I read was about a weekend away at an inn in Madison (I believe)
Anyway, I have been there with a dear friend of mine who recently moved to Greensboro. I called and told her about it and she immediately said "let's go and visit her". After reading this post I would have to agree.

Megan - I have seen things book, picked it up off the shelf and looked it over more than once. I am so glad to read what you thought of it and to know that it is worth the read!

Simply Domestic - As a mom who just moved her daughter to college, I catch myself wondering if I did "enough". Thank you for sharing this truth. I'm going to get this book. Blessings!

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