Headline: Crippled Woman Climbs Mountain!

(Will she fall on her backside?  Most likely. Stay tuned for pictures!)  {PLEASE read previous post before starting this one…PLEASE!!}

I have been praying about how to approach this, as I feel horribly inadequate for this task. My prayer is that the Lord, in His graciousness, would take my pitiful attempts at communicating  this and do a great and mighty work.  (One He could/would do without my “input” anyway!  What a God!!)

There were quite a few questions regarding grace based parenting tossed about in the comments section yesterday.  Let me review them:
How does one practically teach a knowledge of the law (thus grace) while teaching them to obey us? How do we do this while winning their hearts and not just concentrating on outward form? Is it reasonable to require 100% cheerful obedience from them – Christian or non? Do we allow them to fail at this, but offer grace when it isn’t attained?  How do you teach and win them over without getting obedience based on fear? What is meant by parenting by grace? When does one decide their methods aren’t working? Does God lead different families to different methods of parenting? Do we parent different children differently, within the same family? When we disobey, how does God discipline us – and can we apply that to our own parenting?
(Did I get them all tl??  You sure you don’t want to discuss open heart surgery?  I might be better at that…)

Ok, I’m going to work backwards just a little bit…ok, I’m going to work from the middle out.  What is grace-based parenting?  This is a term that we use in our house.  I don’t know that anyone else uses it, but it was the best one we could find for what God was teaching us.  (I pause to say – if for some reason I do not adequately reveal to you the depth of the work that the Lord did in us during this time of teaching, I would tell you that we call them the “Hamburger Years.”  Not that we ate a lot of it – but that we felt like it!)

Grace-based parenting means being as or more aware of the motives of my own heart as I am of my child’s disobedience.  It means being aware of my own need for grace as much as I am aware of their need for correction.  It means being aware of my total and complete need for the involvement of the Holy Spirit in my parenting.  It means making sure my children are as aware of my encouragement as they are of my correction.  It means being more concerned with the state of my children’s souls than I am with my own conveniences and pride. It means Dawn (Jeff too, natch) came to the end of herself and all she could do was go to Father and ask Him to teach me.  He did.

Grace based parenting isn’t a methodology – I employ many different forms of discipline in my household.  It is…well, it’s open heart surgery. : ) It’s the goodness of the Father, reaching down and working on ME to enable me to be a better parent. So because it is Spirit-led, I would say, absolutely different families will parent differently.  I think there will be some similarities in the things that they do, but I also think that because God deals with each of us differently, we will parent differently. Though the “recipe” may be the same we are each going to add our own “flair” to the creation of it.  This brings me to the next question (3 down, 8 to go… ~ Whew…) Yes, we parent different children differently.

I will tell you, there is nothing like individual children receiving individual correction to bring the sin of self-righteousness and the heart of a Pharisee to the surface…generally screaming and stamping its foot, I might add.  I resemble this comment, so I speak from experience.  My son is MY son.  He could speak from this place as well.

I think that we can ascertain from Scripture that God does indeed discipline us – how?  I think that is individual, as well. There was a season in our lives when Jeff was dealing horribly with a particular besetting sin.  I saw the Lord deal with him harshly.  No room for faltering – really convicting him. I was fearful.  I knew what Scripture said – I knew the oil flowed down from Aaron’s head – I knew I would not be able to stand under the type of correction that the Lord was placing on Jeff.  I beseeched Father to be gentle with me in His correction, as I feared His wrath.  I was very naive to think that my Lord – Maker of Heaven and Earth – would forget that He had wired Jeff and I differently and that He would deal with me any way other than exactly what I needed.  (I have never asked him, but I feel certain Jeff would remember that time of chastening with pleasure and a feeling of comfort – comfort that the Lord was allowing him no quarter and was pursuing him with the love of a Father for His son. Not to say he’d think it was a breeze, mind you…his memory isn’t THAT bad.)

When does one decide that their methods aren’t working? You know, my initial response is when you die, but I don’t suppose that is what you’re after.  I think if we are walking with the Lord – leaning on the Lord – in our parenting, that the Holy Spirit will quicken in our hearts when we are missing the mark.  AND it may not be that we are missing the mark totally, but just in that one situation.  God is so close – so near and an ever present help in our time of need.  I assure you, as a parent, I was (am!) in need. 

Ok, that’s the “easy” stuff and this is HUGE already.  I’m going to stop here for a few minutes – get some coffee – shut the front door to shut out the sound of the jack hammering going on – check on my baby and pray for a little bit.  I’ll be back, I promise…unless the Lord tells me to shut my mouth before I convince you all I’m a total dolt.  (Been there done that before!)  Even then, I’ll come back to tell you I have to be quiet. (And you are quite welcome to assume that means I’m a total dolt.) : ) See you in a few!! 

8 Responses to “Headline: Crippled Woman Climbs Mountain!”
  1. javadawn says:

    Wow! Good, no GREAT stuff, Dawn. Keep it comin’!
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 9:05 AM by polimommy

  2. javadawn says:

    Hey TOOTS!! You got older kids too, step into the water with me, eh??? : ) : )
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 9:44 AM by javadawn –

  3. javadawn says:

    I second polimommy. Well done so far, good and faithful servant.
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 10:35 AM by hillfarm_momma

  4. javadawn says:

    But Dawn, you are saying what I would say. Really! And you are doing a GREAT job! AND I have so far still to go. We are seeing the fruit, but I know that I have many, many lessons to learn.

    Dawn, one more thing I want to say to you.

    I appreciate so much your humility and teachability, your desire to never stop learning and growing. Thank you!

    Posted 8/17/2006 at 10:45 AM by polimommy

  5. javadawn says:

    Thanks for the good read, sweet lady. *grins* I’m poking through, and I’ll be sure to prod you with a stick if I think of any pressing questions about what you write…. 😮 ) lol
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 11:21 AM by theproletarian

  6. javadawn says:

    Yes, Dawn, thank you so much for your willingness to put some of these things in print.Sometimes I catch myself lamenting the fact that I didn’t know these things earlier (my children are ages 16-24), but then I realize if I had been the perfect parent where would be my dependance on Him? My most painful times as a parent have become my most precious times with Him. I had a friend tell me once while I was still single that God would do whatever it takes to conform me to the image of His Son. He certainly has His work cut out for Him, in my case, but what a comfort to know that He WILL do it!

    The quote I picked up on especially in this post was “It means making sure my children are as aware of my encouragement as they are of my correction.” My inborn, critical nature struggles with this one all the time (and not just with my children!). When I have stopped to give that word of encouragement, I have seen seemingly impenetrable walls begin to crumble – sometimes just a glimpse, but beginnings nevertheless.
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 12:49 PM by Frowerette

  7. javadawn says:

    Dawn, thanks for tackeling (sp?) these questions. What brought a lot of this up was being around some families who do things very different from how we have been, but do things how I *thought* we were going to do them. You know, all those good solid rules you have before you have kids? *lol* Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get to the heart of why we do what we do, if it is good/right/effective and concerned some that the reason that we don’t do things like we thought is because of sin in our life. But I am really seeing the good ness in different families doing things differently. The three families I can think of, there are two that are more of the Tripp/Pearl persuasion, one that is an attachment parenting family, and then us somewhere in the middle- and to be honest, I think all of our children are doing really well and learning about our God and His goodness and truth and that their behavior refelcts this. Not perfect behavior by any means, but from what little I can see at this point they seem to all be o nthe right path, even if they aren’t very far. Of coures 4 or less years of being alive isn’t a long time to evaluate the results, but so far it is encouraging.

    I like the Dawn coined term parenting by grace (although I think there is an “offiicially” philosophy out there with a similar name….) and the emphasis on the grace needed for EVERYONE in the family. I never want to give my children the idea that I am infallible. When they know they Lord and see sin in my life I want them to be able to approach me and correct me, after all they will be the ones who are with me the most and most likely to see me for who I completely am, not just the well put together looking person at Bible study or church. You can’t hide sin from family. 🙂

    I think so of my difficulty in comprehending obedience (my children to me) is due to the lack of obedience which was required in me. Now, I was a very well behaved child- like you dawn I struggled with understanding what it was that was so bad about me that I needed a savior- but really I very few rules. My disposition and natural inclinaiton was in line enough with my parents without rules that I really never had to submit to anything that I didn’t want to do. Yeah, there were rules like wearing my bike helmet, but that made good sense to me and wasn’t hard to understanding. Really, from a very early age I had basically no rules and was self governed with guidance as necessary. It worked amazingly well, but like I said, I think it was a personality thing more than anything (not some inherrant goodness in me or with my parents method). So now that I am trying to learn how to obey God, even when my flesh fights against it, and trying to learn hwo to submit to the authority He has placed over me I find it chaffes. I’m used to being able to state my case and present my arguements and be listened to and getting my way. I don’t really understand the heart behind joyful obedience even when one doesn’t like what is being asked. I desire so much to though, because I believe when I model that for my children is when they will be able to give it as well- and not just to me but mroe importantly to God.

    Ok, sorry, that got long. Dawn, thanks for talking about all of this. Wow, I wished we lived closer!!!! I hope we get to spend some time together this side of glory.

    Posted 8/17/2006 at 3:26 PM by tlnicholas –

  8. javadawn says:

    Hi Dawn, thanks for your comment / encouragement over at my place!! Thank you.

    “Grace-based parenting means being as or more aware of the motives of my own heart as I am of my child’s disobedience.”

    It seems that is where God is with me. I keep thinking… “Is it too late? Have I ruined my 6 yr old already?” – it seems over dramatic maybe (who me?) BUT seriously… the berevity of this… ministry!! and the pride and self centeredness of my heart!! they just don’t match up half the time!!

    I look forward to hearing more.

    Thank you for your honesty… and humor!
    Posted 8/18/2006 at 2:23 AM by ALifeofBalance –

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