Parenting 101 (Romans)

I keep thinking this parenting thing will get easy.  What a lie!  I mean, when people told me when I had 4 kids 5 & under – when they told me it did not get easier, only different, I was sure they were wrong.  How could it not get easier?  2 to 3 in diapers, the physical needs of 4 kids being met primarily by me.  How could it not get easier?  It must!!  It must!!

But, again, I was wrong.  And now, as I talk to Kristen who had 4 closer than mine and 4 years behind, I tell her “It does not get easier.”  When I call in distress I think she is realizing it does not get easier.  My distress is not over potty training.  It is not over biting, or hitting, or dirty diapers.  It is over heart issues.  Big stuff.  Eternal stuff, if you will.

My day Tuesday was ugly.  I sent her a quick email half way through to say “uggghhh” – a quick plea for prayer.  I do not want to battle my child every day, all day.  I want to love him.  Or do I?

All day, we battled.  All day I remembered the advice I doled out but a few days before.  “Woo him Kristen,” – my point that God woos us, he loves us.  He does not treat us like we deserve to be treated.  Our blessings are not directly linked to our good works.  Woo him.  I heard it, in my head, over and over.  But I could not live it.  Instead I yelled (a little), lectured (A LOT), and grasped for light at the end of this tunnel (Does it end???).

 

Then, I wake up at 5:30 today (Wednesday).  Why!!??  I am frustrated, trying to grab sleep back, and put it on.  I toss and turn.  Then I hear Romeo “crowing” outside.  And I am more frustrated. (one – I know I will not go back to sleep, two – I beat the rooster to wake up – Ugghhhhh) Looks like it is going to be day 2 – a repeat of yesterday,

So I slip out of bed, walk through a quiet house (rare here), make some tea, grab my Bible and BAM.  There He is, waiting for me.  Accident that I woke at this crazy hour?  I know, not.  He wanted me.  He wanted my mind clear and fresh, He wanted to pour some truth into my heart.

Romans 4:21 – being fully persuaded that God [has] the power to do what he [has] promised.

A look back at the promised God gave Abraham.  A man who loved God but had not law, not Christ.  Just loved and obeyed.  A promise to me and to my sweet son.  He will do what he has promised.  He will guide my steps as I parent.  If I go to him, he will steer me down the path I need to go.  He will fill my son with what HE wants to, if J is looking to Him.  God has the power to do all that he has promised.

Romans5:13b But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 

WOW!!  Sin is not taken into account.  Do I live by the law in my house?  Do I hold my son to the law?  Jesus abolished the LAW.  He took away the Law with his death.  We live by grace.  Do I parent by grace?  Do I live out the book Grace Based Parenting that I read years ago?  Or do I need to dust it off and have a refresher?  Do I show grace to J every time he messes up?  Anytime he messes up?

Thank goodness God does not parent like me!!  My sin is wiped clean.  Jesus defeated the law – and my sin is wiped clean by his death.  It is all about grace.  Grace.  Grace.  Grace – I need to keep reminding myself.  I do not feel it.  I do not want to pour grace to a boy who rolls his eyes, grumbles about EVERYTHING, hits his brother, shoves his sister, and did I mention rolls his eyes???  Grace for that?  Really, Lord? 

Ughhhh – Grace.  Grace. Grace.  I need to tattoo that on the back of my eyelids.  I need to see it every day, all day.  I need to offer more grace. 

Romans 5:20b But where sin increased grace increased all the more so that just as in reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Oh man.  You mean, by offering grace I might point to eternal life in Jesus?  You mean, that by wooing my boys heart, instead of bruising it will guilt, I might draw him deeper into the kingdom?  Not that I could really do that, I know it is not about me.  But my grace to him might reflect a God who offers is so much freely?  My grace is really HIS grace anyway.  My grace is a reflection of the REAL grace  – like a magnet – it draws other closer to HIM.  Oh man.

{Can you tell God woke me up for a reason, really though?  5:30?}

Finally, I turn back, I need to catch up in Chronicles.  And I see it again – a word to me.

1 Chronicles 5:13b We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.

This is David, talking about moving the Arc.  David.  Again, this Godly man – like Abraham in Romans.  David.  A man who God loved – and a man who loved God.  Two men who grasped what grace was.  They were given it, just like me.

They did not inquire and he did not bless their actions.  Truth to me : ask Him.  Daily, ask God for guidance on this parenting journey, and just maybe he will daily lead me as I lead these kids.  Just maybe he will give me the patience I need for that day, the kindness, the love, the GRACE. 

This morning was good.  I hope, next time I wake up early I do not toss and turn trying to grab hold of sleep – this time with Him was so much better than another hour or two of sleep.  This was real stuff.  Right where I am.  He met me there.  Right in my need of encouragement and promises.  God is good, all the time, even when your 10 year old rolls his eyes at you.

**Note – just another way God is amazing.  After I finished my time with God and my reading, I checked email and Kristen read the same passages this morning and typed many of them up and sent them to me with a brief message too.  God is so amazing – he knew I needed to hear these truths, twice even!!

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One thought on “Parenting 101 (Romans)

  1. I just love how God is so real and personal! Praising Him for meeting you right where you needed Him. I know your road all too well Janlle. Gosh, what parent doesn't?! I am reading grace based parenting right now and it has been crazy to see victory in my struggles! i mean crazy, laugh out loud, wonderful. I have friends reading, 'Give them grace' and I plan to read that one next…I know God needs to keep 'chiseling' at me.:)
    ~Lisa

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