I've often heard that parenting doesn't come with an instruction manual. I, respectfully, disagree.
The Word of God, in addition to being a love letter from our Father who spared no expense to adopt us in to His family, is also a powerful source of wisdom and instruction! Perhaps we forget this because we are more prone to scouring book shelves and online articles for how-to's and don't-do's. We crave systems and step-by-steps that solve issues and create change.
The most popular blog posts are ones that begin with "3 Ways to..." or "5 Steps to..." Why? Because we erroneously believe that if we could JUST get those ways or steps down, everything else would fall in to place. It's our nature to seek things or ways we can change ourselves and our circumstances, as opposed to seeking the One who can change both for our good and His glory.
Lest it sound like I'm being judge-y, I assure you, I am not accusing, rather relating. You see, I am guilty of craving the sage advice of others in an attempt to finally get it right. My cycle looks like this:
Read. Attempt to implement. Evaluate how far I have to go. Re-read. Repeat.
Guided by Scripture Parenting Challenge!
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Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be studying Romans 12. And I want to invite you to study along with me. I spent my time with God this morning crying out for Him to forgive and help me. I have slipped into - no, I have chosen to stay in - a place of stress and frustration. Circumstances may be stressful, but when I go to God and ask Him to search my heart and find the wicked, anxious things - He does. Not to shame me, but to free me.
So, I'm going to the Source for some help with this parenting gig. Because it's tough, y'all. Being a mom is challenging. Being a momma dealing with trauma in her kids lives is really challenging. But you know who knows all about that? God.
This week, we're digging in to verse 9. Two short sentences that, when fully grasped, will radically impact our parenting! Here are three translations of this verse:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Romans 12:9 NIV
Let love be without hypocrisy—detesting what is evil, holding fast to the good.
Romans 12:9 Tree of Life Version
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Romans 12:9 NKJV
The above is a screen shot from dictionary . com. The particular definition we're going to address is number one: a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral, or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
If we are instructing our children in how to live a life pleasing to Jesus, we must be sure to mirror our verbal teachings with our every day actions.
Now, before you get hung up on thinking I'm preaching perfectionism, I'm not. What I am suggesting, is sincerity. In the mishaps, and shortcomings we as parents experience, we should be demonstrating to our children how to accept responsibility, apologize, ask Jesus for help, and make restitution.
The values we are working to instill in our children should be the very ones we are leading with in our homes: kindness, respect, patience, diligence, and integrity. And as I discussed in a prior post, this whole bearing good fruit thing isn't about striving, it's about surrender.
holding fast to what is good.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise—dwell on these things.
When it comes to parenting, we tend to focus on what needs fixing. Both in ourselves, and in our children. While addressing areas of concern is wise, staying focused on problem areas leads to frustration. The Bible is clear: we are to dwell on the pure and lovely.
Having a hard day? Grab a piece of paper and jot down true, lovely, commendable things about yourself, your child(ren), and your life. You may need to simply speak the life-giving Word of God.
If you're struggling with a child's behavior, try this counter-intuitive exercise:
Let's be real, some moments, it is HARD to find the good. Maybe you're parenting through a crisis situation - perhaps you've been in the trenches of trauma with a kiddo. Friend, I have been there. I know on the days where we, as parents, are in survival mode, this is not an easy thing to do. But it is necessary.
So, here are some questions you can consider:
Find those things, speak those things, and pray those things over your child! You may be surprised to see a shift in their demeanor. And even if you don't, if you will stay committed to dwelling on THOSE things, you will see a shift in YOUR demeanor!
Next week, we'll dive in to verse 10! Until then, make sure you've signed up for the Guided by Scripture Parenting Challenge! You'll receive a weekly email with prayer targets, scriptures to study, and a free printable of the weekly memory verse! You can sign up here!
In what areas do you need to apply the concepts of parenting without hypocrisy and holding fast to what is good? Are these things you excel at, or struggle with? Do you have words of wisdom to share with others? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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