Parenting: *don't* do it afraid.

I was recently asked how my parenting has changed over the last couple of years. Here are some 'ponderings' on that.

I think the biggest change, the fundamental change that has affecting my parenting the most, is I'm no longer afraid. I'm not afraid of my children not learning to obey, because I know the power of Jesus' love. I'm not afraid of bad things happening to them, because I trust them to God. (I'm still CAREFUL--I just don't freak out (much) anymore. I still have a pretty major thing about my kids in high places or near precipices.) Because I'm so much more accustomed to the fact that God's love for me is wildly generous and totally unconditional, I don't worry about what anyone else thinks. I just treat my children as best I know how--as equal individuals. Very much as I wish to be treated. Honestly. Openly. And able to make my own decisions.

They do stand in a position of lesser authority and responsibility in some ways in my home, but I do my best to treat them as I want to be treated, and to not "baby" or patronize them. I firmly believe they are able to do good things, to step up to the opportunity of making a choice, and making a GREAT one. My 5 1/2 year old has taught me the most about this, because my "old" way of doing things UTTERLY DID NOT WORK with him. Totally. Like, "it no workie" kind of total failure. (In the comic below, my 5yo is Dilbert, on the left. I'm on the right. And yes, I've had my touchy & defensive moments. lol I'm better now, though. Praise God!)


He is such a fun, personality-filled little guy. He LOVES to laugh, and be just really good friends. He loves me incredibly, and I've learned a lot about love from him. About how love doesn't coerce. Or boss others around heavy-handedly. How love appeals to the love in the other person, and lets their conscience work at its full ability, instead of trying to convict of wrongdoing or manipulate.

I have learned to trust the innate goodness in my children. To see them as complete, whole people, who honestly want to do what's right, and look to me for example and support. But most of all: I try to treat my children the way that Jesus treats me. I keep them from physical harm, feed & clothe them, and do those fundamental things. But all of the "technique" and "style" stuff that people usually argue over is really simple: I follow Jesus' lead with me.

The short (and ultimate) answer is get to know Jesus. Let Him be a real, full, complete person to you. Abandon every construct and preconception about Who He is, and how He works, and let Him reveal Himself to you however He sees fit, and teach you using whatever means He chooses. He wants to teach you even more than you want to learn! He wants to lead you on an amazing romance adventure of epic proportions . . . to sweep you along, to take your breath away, to show you His love in a measure and fullness you've never even imagined. Being in love with Jesus is like a crush, the early stages of getting to know someone you're falling hard for. You think about them. A lot. You want to talk to them, listen to them. You want to watch their face, learn their character and personality. You stay up all night talking to them, largely unconcerned for the consequences, because you can't imagine doing anything else.

But don't worry if you don't feel that way right now. It grows as you let Jesus come into your life, and the amazing, beautiful friendship with Him unfolds. The more you get to know Him, the more you can't help longing for His company, for hearing from Him. And the more you know Him, the more you will know how to really and truly love and serve the people in your life.

Know thou the Lord! :o) As parents, so much in blessing and joy lay ahead as we do.


Musings on Gathering

Scripture: Jeremiah 23:3-4 NLT

But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them.  I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number.  Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again.  Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Observation: 

What a lovely, lovely prophecy this is.  While I'm not currently living in a physical gathering of Saints, I look forward to the day I will . . . even if I have to wait until Christ comes again.  I have long had a feeling that this is a gathering place, this county of ours, and I look forward to seeing what that means to God, and what He plans he will bring about.

Application: 

In the meantime, I will cherish verses like these.  I will surrender and live among my family, and among my friends, in this way.  I don't want a single one to go missing, or be lost.  I want to live in fellowship with the Saints, in unity, in the love of Christ, so His joy can flow among and through us without obstruction.

Prayer: 

Father in heaven, I praise Your glorious and holy name for the gathering you have done in my life; for the precious loved ones I have who have led me to You.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! And I thank you for the way that I'm beginning to find kindred where I didn't expect, to help and support me--those who understand very well what I have experienced. Lord, please guide me. Help me to know how to love my own, and Your own, and all others, with Your love.  Show me how to raise my children, how to train and teach them, so they can come to know You as You really are.  Put people in their paths--TRUE disciples of Your Son, Jesus--who can show them Your way, and the true nature of God's love.  Let Your love touch those I speak to, those I touch.  And please bless me with a constant desire to do so, and the awareness to recognize when I have allowed the enemy to slip back into my life. he is so, so sneaky, and I don't always catch it before he has managed to make me forget so, so much. In Jesus' name, amen.

Godly Parenting

Scripture: Ephesians 6:4, NLT: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."

I also really like the AMP version of this verse: "Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord."

Observation: Good parenting is *Godly* parenting. It comes from Him, through the Holy Spirit and His Word, and those around us who speak into our lives. (Logos and rhema. See? She can be taught! lol ;o)

Application: I have read a pretty nice stack of parenting books, from Ferber's cry-it-out to the most radical of attachment parenting. And, while I was able to learn some good & helpful things (nearly all of which came through the obvious love some of the authors had for babies and children), the love of Jesus and the tutelage of the Holy Spirit have been the most powerful and transformative.

Prayer: Father, please teach me YOUR ways in my home. Your love alone has revolutionized my family and healed so many things that have been broken for so, so long. I LOVE watching You move in our lives, and the healing and joy you shed so generously over us. Please, show me how to interact with my children, how to teach and gently train them, as You would in my place. Thank You SO MUCH for my family--and for Your love that makes it such a joyous journey. I praise You and rejoice in the glorious light of Your love! :o) In Jesus' holy name, Amen!