Monday, January 12, 2015

Authentic Parenting

"When you are truly relaxed in the Lord and experiencing His true rest, that rest will nearly always involve more activity than we would otherwise ever know. That is because Christ is in action, and you and your humanity are simply the clothes of His divine activity. 

This is the rest of faith. You relax, almost like a spectator, except that it is your hands with which He is at work, your lips with which He is speaking, your eyes with which He sees the need, your ears with which He hears the cry, and your heart with which He loves the lost. 

To "let go and let God" is not inactivity, but Christ-activity - God in action accomplishing divine purposes through human personality. This never reduces our status or worth, but exalts us to the stature of a king: 'Those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ' (Romans 5:17). "
-excerpt from "The Life of Christ", Chapter 29, by Major W. Ian Thomas

My husband and I have been reading this book together and this chapter just hit the nail on the head, particularly, I believe, for moms. As moms we try to set up the equation for God, and wait for the moment He fills in the answer. We create lesson plans and service projects and have all of our ducks in a row, and then "invite God in" to the setup. This, we believe, will teach our kids. This, we believe, is our responsibility as a mother. This, we believe, will buy our children's salvation. We hide imperfections in fear that they will create ungodly characteristics in our children, and shove pain and regret to a place unseen by our kids. "I don't want them see sin in me", we think, "I don't want to introduce imperfection". So we fluff our hair and paint on a smile, sing fake songs of praise when we feel anger, and ultimately, completely remove the need for the cross from our lives. 

Sweet mamas, what our kids need most now and in life is GRACE. They need to see our flaws so they can see our need for Jesus. If we hide away the bad and display only the good, what do they see? They see a perfect parent, free of sin, who doesn't need grace. They will not know grace the need, grace the gift, grace the sacrifice, or grace the man. They will know works, guilt, performance, and human effort. And when they need the beautiful mercy of Christ's love, they will have no point of reference.

Stop. Stop. STOP. 

STOP "trying" to teach, stop "trying" to perfect, stop "trying" to serve, stop "trying" to love. 


Rest in the Lord. WAIT on His timing. Have FAITH in His plan for our children. 

I believe in waiting. Waiting for a question, waiting for a moment, waiting for a chance. God knows our children beyond our knowledge. God wants our children beyond our comprehension. Gods power over the lives of our children is impossible by our own effort. Does waiting feel wrong? YES. Does sitting back and enjoying life without forced teaching feel scary? YES. Does trusting that God will plant the seeds in our children's heads feel like it's taking too long? YES. 

But the lack of control, the lack of a plan, the lack of effort, the simple availability of our time...that is true faith. That is God's rest at work in our lives. The wellspring of life. 

Yes, we have a responsibility as a parent, to display Christ to our children, to teach them of His love, to point them to the cross. But I don't want to miss that moment by rushing from one bible study to the next, by forcing one verse then the other, or by planning a new missions trip each semester. Those moments, the moments that we are called to as a parent, those happen when a child asks a question at the table about Jesus, or when you stop a tough math problem to show love and comfort, or when they question your apology after mean words. Ever notice that it is authenticity that is most attractive? 

Be available. Be flawed. Be real. Let Christ be your life. 

"Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you."
Psalm 116:7

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