Are there people you can call for advice when you are in a time of struggle with certain behavior patterns and sinfulness in your child's life? Are there people who will encourage you and challenge you through hard times of child training? Do you have friends or family that know your child almost as well as you? Do you have people partnering with you in raising your children? I am very thankful to God that He has brought many of these kinds of friends into the life of our family, despite my efforts to raise my children on my own without community.
Oftentimes, I struggle to focus on the heart of my children and spend too much energy working on their behavior. I want courteous, diligent, and self-aware children, and I find myself abusing my parental authority to get the results I want. This behavior mentality of parenting finds us barking orders and giving "no!" as our most frequent response to our children. There is no joy or grace in this kind of parenting, and it does not honor God. Nor does it fulfill my role as their parent to train them in righteousness for the sake of the Gospel. God is gracious enough to bring friends and teachers into my life and the lives of our kids to advise, encourage, and model to us and our young ones what a family seeking God's glory first looks like.
Just this week, after a difficult couple of weeks struggling with two of our kids, we received a precious email of encouragement from some Camp Grace teachers. And not just for us, but for our child as well! They know her and love her for who God is growing her to be, and can see the Holy Spirit moving in her life and changing her. Not only did this encourage us that God is moving in the life of our child, but also encouraged us that He is so much bigger than our efforts to train behavior. Even when we go through seasons of forgetting to keep the cross central in our parenting, God does not, and He works beyond us.
Are there friends and volunteers that God uses to teach your children and encourage you? They do an invaluable job sharing the Gospel to our children at Grace every week, and try as I may, I cannot help but live in community with them! Take some time this week to let those friends or volunteers that know your child well know that you value the time and energy they give in teaching and modeling a life centered on the Good News of the power of God.
-Molly Burns, Saturday Night Coordinator