Now that you are singing that awesome Extreme song from the 90s in your head, pause it for just a moment and consider this. Here are the most frequent words out of my mouth: “Come back here and….”, “How many times have I said…”, “Stop that!”, “Quit it!”, and my personal favorite, “Stop the flow!” (see Proverbs 10:19). I grow weary of myself by the end of the day, with my nagging and fussiness and rushing to move our crew from here to there and back, so I am sure my kids grow weary of it as well. I have wondered often lately, how can I move from herding to shepherding my kids.
Over the past few weeks, God has aligned people, circumstances and Scripture to reveal one huge change I can make that will love my kids, honor Him and allow His peace to permeate our home instead of my nagging. I am currently reading The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. She uses Christ’s example to reach the heart of her children, and writes about the different gifts, or spiritual goals, we as parents can give them. One of these gifts is that of grace. If you read my last post, you know I like to be in control and control others, so it’s easy to deduce that grace and mercy are about as low on my “gifts” spectrum as it gets. I’m talking low like “I may enjoy paying for toilet paper before I extend grace to someone” low. Which brings me to a point: I cannot give my children the gift of grace unless I have experienced it myself.
In Part 5 of our Culturally Engaged series, this past weekend Bill White focused on John 9, about Jesus giving sight to the blind man. He begged the question, in light of telling others about Jesus, what has Jesus done for me? And how can I share that? At first I was struck, because I couldn’t come up with some amazing, pulled-from-the-pit experience. All I could think of, what first came to mind, was that Jesus saved me from myself. And because He did, I have a story to tell and the ability to tell it, through His grace.
This brings me back to extending grace to my children, as painful as the fight against my flesh is sometimes. In Chapter 3, Sally Clarkson says, “We must balance our correction with words of encouragement and affirmation,” not to make them feel good about themselves, but to strengthen them to righteousness. To breathe life-giving words into their hearts, one so they can hear it, and two so they can learn to do the same for others. So this morning, instead of “Take your vitamins!” and “Close the door!”, I first tried, “You wiped the table really well last night after dinner, thanks!” and “Thank you for those flowers by my bedside. They made my morning!” It set a much sweeter tone for our home this morning as we began another day. I am hopeful that extending grace instead of nagging, keeping Christ’s example and love in front instead of my agenda, will be one more way we can shepherd our children to have a relationship with Christ one day. And maybe I won’t feel as tired either? I’ll keep you posted on that one…
- Molly Burns, Saturday Night Coordinator