Truly Truly Amazing Grace!

Ok, so we have this Reb Bradley stick to finish hitting ourselves with…. and I get my copy of “No Ordinary Home” yesterday.  I’m all but done with it.  I read late into the night and early this morning. I just couldn’t resist it.  (THANK YOU KRYSTAL for suggesting it!!) Now, guess what I don’t want to discuss. I know, I know, just a little over 2 wks…. If by any chance, we all get our books this week, how do we feel about starting on Monday?  (If there are still some who are waiting on the book (April?? when is your copy due in??), that’s not a problem, we can wait…I think.) 😉

So, Ladies, Proverbs 22:6 – is it a promise?  I can certainly say that there have been seasons of my life where I wished that it were so.  I can’t say I believe that it is a guarantee that our children will love the Lord with all their hearts.  (Besides, I don’t want to wait until my children are old before they embrace the things of God.)

“…we relied upon fear of our authority as the main source of motivation for our children.  …there is a great difference between intimidating children into subjection and winning their hearts into submission”He then goes on to talk about the importance of teaching our younger children with strong parental control.  I would like to share with you one of the things that we experienced on our path to parenting by grace. Virtually all of the parents we knew who were parenting by grace had unkind and disrespectful and disobedient children.  THAT was not the fruit that we wanted.  We tried applying the “methods” we were learning – to no avail.  One day, I ran to the bathroom – it was quiet – and just cried out to the Lord to open my eyes, that I might understand how to train my children in grace.  The Lord quickened in my heart that as a child in Christ, we leaned heavily on the Law, until we had learned the heart of the Father.  So too with our children.  When they are young, they are “under the Law” so to speak, so that they can grow to embrace ….and see the GREATNESS of Grace.  If there is no law in their life – they don’t see grace, either.

Now, lest you think that I want my children to see my kindness and fall at my feet, “Oh Benevolent Mother, thou art blest above all other mothers for thou didst not beat me within an inch of my life when I forgotest thou thy coffee, whilst thou did sit with thy feet upon the stool.” Oh no, no, no, no.  (I get too confused by the thees, thous and thys.  They can just grovel in normal language.) 😉 My goal, in parenting, must be to show them God.  If they do not value grace extended to them from me, how much less will they value it coming from Father? 

I grew up a “good” kid.  When I would hear, “He who is forgiven much, loves much.”  I always felt cheated, I would never be able to love God much.  I was a good kid….I didn’t get forgiven much…because I didn’t have much to forgive.  (Are you still here – did you fall off your chair laughing?  I’ll give you a few seconds to compose yourself)  That really is how I felt.  I needed to be saved from my own goodness.

When our children grow up aware of the law, then they are aware of their own sin and their incredible need of grace and the preciousness of the gift of it.  I do not ever want my children to think that they are good enough that they don’t need a Savior.  When I do not point out their sin, then I run the risk of doing just that.  This is definitely one area I do not want my apples falling too close to this tree!!

(I hesitated to share this – for fear of not communicating my heart clearly – if I have neglected to do so – and it’s quite likely – PLEASE ask me for clarification! AND to clarify – I am chomping at the bit to discuss No Ordinary Home.)

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20 Responses to “Truly Truly Amazing Grace!”
  1. javadawn says:

    I totally understood you and laughed at some of what you said. I probably understood it and laughed at it because I could relate so well! I also thought I was one of the ones who wasn’t forgiven much. LOL!!! Oh, goodness! What I have learned as I’ve drawn closer to the Lord.

    I agree with what you say about the Law and Grace. I also think you can show your children the Law and their sin without being a control freak. I mean, you can go after their hearts (rather than their behaviors) and have them “under the Law” so to speak.

    Just wanted to share —- there is a Christian couple who live nearby. They had 9 children and homeschooled them. Last year, the mother and 8 of the children were visiting family in another state and there was an explosion. Six of the children died. Two were badly injured. Just like that! Six beautiful children gone. This couple is amazing, and God gave them much grace during that time. The mother had been led to thoroughly study Job in her private Bible study time. Oh, it gives me chills to think of how God prepared her, and how God worked so much good through the situation. Anyway . . . . this couple came to speak at our church in January. The dad said they (in the past) had taught parenting classes at their church. He said people asked them for advice all the time. His advice —– Get their hearts and their behaviors will follow. If you capture their hearts, they will want to obey you.

    On my BEST days, I remember this. On my WORST days, I’m a crazy woman fussing and yelling and ordering around and demanding good actions. Oh, that God would give me His power and help my good days increase.

    -Jenn
    Posted 8/16/2006 at 11:02 AM by jennhatcher

  2. javadawn says:

    It’s interesting how the Lord brings together partners who typically fall into the categories of Law and Grace. Our marriage seems to be a prime example. I’m definitely “Law” and my husband epitomizes “Grace”. We both need the balance the other offers. I so agree with Jenn’s statement concerning the great importance of capturing our children’s hearts. Our family consists of four children – two biological and two adopted. One of our adopted children came to us at age 9 – a very angry, independent, rebellious child. I have learned so much (so painfully!) in the 12 years that have passed since. We still haven’t “captured” her heart and the behaviors that were enforced in the younger years were promptly thrown aside when she turned 18. Next week she will be married (against our counsel), and though my heart grieves deeply at the heartache I see ahead for her, I realize that God knows the best way to teach each of us His ways.

    I have always been the “good girl” as well – very conscious of obeying all the rules and making sure my children did too. It took this very special daughter (and a very gracious husband) to show me up close and personal, how needy I am in the “need to be forgiven” department. I wish I could turn back the clock, but can just thank the Lord for patiently persevering in my life as He has.
    Posted 8/16/2006 at 11:50 AM by Frowerette

  3. javadawn says:

    So, for us new moms, how does one pratically teach a knowledge of the law (and thus the need for grace) while teaching children to obey us, but winning their hearts and not simply concentrating on the outside form? If we’re suppose to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect, is it reasonible to require cheerful obediance 100% of the time from our children? Or do we teach them that yes, that is what they should give, but we offer the grace when it isn’t acchieved? (just as we are given grace when we aren’t perfect as our father in heaven?) And how do you teach and win them over to submission and honor without simply getting obedience because they are intimidated/fearful of the consequences? Is it good in those early years under the law that they obey because they don’t want to be punished? Or is that simply intimidating them into subjection?

    And what is meant by “parenting by grace”?

    So many questions I know…..:)

    Posted 8/16/2006 at 1:03 PM by tlnicholas

  4. javadawn says:

    Thanks for coming tlnicholas. Great questions. Be sure to check out the specials over in housewares.

    Bye – Come again soon!!! ; ) ; )

    Well, my dear, you realize I’m coming at this from a totally different place. I’m likely NOT the person you want answering this. I’m serious. I ruined 6 perfectly good children by my pride and my control – so the Lord graciously allowed us another one (“Try and not mess this one up, would ya?? You’re getting too old for Me to keep giving you children.”) – and she’s 8 mo old and already I have had 2 friends tell me she’s spoiled. SEE?!!!!! : )

    tl – May I suggest we make this a separate blog for tomorrow? (Honest, I will post on it either late tonight or early tomorrow morning.) My reason for suggesting this is the questions you are asking are too important to stick in the comments section. I think that some moms would GREATLY benefit from the discussion and if we start it down here, they might miss it. I’ll start it tomorrow morning – and we can chew on it then. Deal?? (Besides, that gives me a few hours so I can pray my backside off to know how best to serve you with my answers.) : ?

    Also, just so you know – Jenn posed a question the other day on AiM that has been rattling in my heart ever since – I’m going to post it too – we’ll chew yours tomorrow and her’s on Friday. Now, if that’s the case, I MUST go – I need a whole lot more prayer time, for I truly, truly am the least of these to be responding!! : D
    Posted 8/16/2006 at 1:17 PM by javadawn –

  5. javadawn says:

    Dawn – Can’t wait for Thurs and Fridays discussions:) We’ve just been mulling this over, too. “Winning their hearts” is so important and yet so vague. We need the “how to’s” here. So far I’ve discovered with Levi (who’s only four so I am pretty far from being an expert!) that so much of his behavior is linked directly to MY attitude. So much of his attitude is directly linked to my attitude. Such a scary thought. On the days when I’m just being “the boss” it’s almost like he *has* to push back. On the days when I’m involved and we’re working together to get things done (although I am still fully in charge, I promise), it’s a whole different story. We have to be on the same team before he will accept my leading without it becoming a power struggle (this kid is all about wanting to be the boss!), but when he knows that I’m trying to teach him something or help him with something things are so much smoother. Now, if I could just remember this!
    Posted 8/16/2006 at 1:36 PM by javafriend

  6. javadawn says:

    Dawn, Sounds great! And I think you are just the person to answer these questions. A few more that I have been pondering are….

    At what point does one decide ones method isn’t working?

    Is is ligitimate to believe that God can/does lead different families into very different parenting methods? That perhaps there isn’t really a right and wrong way. (example, one family might follow the Pearl’s teachings, another might be in the Attachment Parenting camp, and both can be completely in the will of God for their family) ?

    Is is reasonable to expect 100% obdience out of a non-christian child? Or is that part of the time of the law?

    Might we parent (and subsequently discipline) different children in our own family differently? Is that fair?

    Do we deal with non-Christian children and Christian children in a different way?

    Another thing that has been rolling around in my mind (and please feel free to ignore this part as it might just turn into one REALLY long rabbit trail) but if we’re expecting our children to obey us (as mothers) then isn’t that the sort of obedience that we should model to our husbands? And if it is reasonable and right and good for us to impose consequences on our children for disobedience, what about wives and husbands? (not advocating this, just a thought that popped in there one day and to which I’ve had no real resolution to. Just can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a more direct correlation between the obdedience we are to give to God, that wives are to give to husbands, and that children to parents)

    And when we disobey God, how does he correct us? is it different ways at different times? what can we learn from that in teaching and correcting our own children…..

    oh boy, my head just hurts typing all of that out! Ok, I’m off of here for the day. Looking forward to tomorrow’s discussion.

    Posted 8/16/2006 at 3:53 PM by tlnicholas –

  7. javadawn says:

    sounds like GREAT stuff is just around the bend here at javadawn. woohoo. Dawn, like it or not, you’ve acquired a readership of young moms who long to know the Way in our mothering and lean heavily on those who have gone before. I’ll be praying for you as you seek Him for the words.
    Posted 8/16/2006 at 4:53 PM by andwe_areoff –

  8. javadawn says:

    Have you all been spying at my house??!!! :o) I, too, grew up as the “good” kid in our family and felt I didn’t have much to be forgiven of…and then the Lord gave me children! Mothering 4 children (1 BP, 1 PDD-NOS, 2 NT) has brought out the very most despicable in me, to the point that I have hated mySELF and cried out to God in despair, at which point He was able to do something with me. In our marriage, I too tend to be Law, while my dearest hubby tends to be Grace. I think this has something to do with being the primary caretaker/disciplinarian while he is out being the breadwinner; but it also has much to do with our personalities. It has brought about some interesting discussions inside my head with regard to submission/headship and family leadership. (I want him to be the leader, Lord, but he’s not doing it right! See how much work Father has to do with me? Sigh, it’s a good thing He’s omnicient and omnipotent!)

    Looking forward with glee to the next couple of discussions, and Dawn is absolutely right that these answers require much prayer; but to give you a taste of hard-fought-over wisdom I will jump in and say yes! not only is it reasonable/fair for the Lord to lead different families to different “methods” of childrearing but different methods will be necessary within the same family depending on the individual child’s will and bent. There are some overall goals and behaviors that we are all striving for, but unlike salvation, there is more than one road to get to them. With our oldest son alone (the one with BP) we have been through Dobson, Ezzo (Growing Kids God’s Way), a Christian counselor, a secular child psychologist, a child psychiatrist (when we finally received the correct diagnosis and help to stabilize his brain chemicals). Since then we have leaned heavily on materials from Doorposts and Shepherding a Child’s Heart, not following any one thing to the letter, but weaving a tapestry out of the best of these to bring our son to a point of living in obedience to us as parents and more importantly in accordance with the word of God.

    I’ve probably already said too much so I will sit down and patiently wait until tomorrow’s discussion! :o)

    Posted 8/16/2006 at 5:28 PM by hillfarm_momma

  9. javadawn says:

    Dawn… Can’t wait for tomorrow’s discussion. I figure I’ll just cut and paste and have parenting completely figured out til The Bug turns 18, right?

    Yeah.

    Anyway, about the book discussion — please go ahead. I’ve no idea when mine will get here so I’ll lurk about and when it arrives, I promise I’ll catch up and jump in (as I am wont to do) without regard for having been an active part of previous discussions! Fair warning?
    Posted 8/16/2006 at 7:49 PM by aprilmcstew –

  10. javadawn says:

    tl – re: your REALLY long bunny trail – before I answer you, can I get you to clarify what you’re asking, please? (I started to answer you and then really just wanted further clarification….)

    “REALLY long rabbit trail) but if we’re expecting our children to obey us (as mothers) then isn’t that the sort of obedience that we should model to our husbands? And if it is reasonable and right and good for us to impose consequences on our children for disobedience, what about wives and husbands? (not advocating this, just a thought that popped in there one day and to which I’ve had no real resolution to. Just can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a more direct correlation between the obdedience we are to give to God, that wives are to give to husbands”

    Thanks my dear!
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 7:37 AM by javadawn

  11. javadawn says:

    Jenn, I have been thinking about the parents you shared of above – MY GOODNESS – what faith. I’m impressed by their ability to hold fast to Father in the midst of such a storm…or perhaps rather of Father’s ability to hold fast t them – and I’m hearing of it from afar.

    It does make me wonder though – surely other people spoke of Job to their friends as well…what did people think when they heard HIS story? Were they impressed by His God, I wonder? (Just a thought….)

    You know, you described your best days and your worst days – what grace in my life that my best days don’t sound like your worst days anymore. (Did that make sense??) I fear that I have had season where my best days were no better than your worst ones.
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 7:46 AM by javadawn

  12. javadawn says:

    “Next week she will be married (against our counsel), and though my heart grieves deeply at the heartache I see ahead for her, I realize that God knows the best way to teach each of us His ways. ”
    Dear Frowerette, though I ache for you and wish that I had words to minister to and attend to the wounds that you speak of, I do know one thing….Father placed those children into YOUR home. There is something about YOUR home that He wanted ministered into the lives of those children. I also know that though this may be hard to watch, the Lord is a GREAT economist. There will be nothing of this time that will go to waste. I shall be praying for you to be filled with fresh love for this daughter – pure love, with no judgement (as would be MY own tendency) – that she may be able to find her way back home to your heart – to FATHER’S heart when this time of learning is done.

    Much grace to you, dear Frower!! (Back in the 70’s (I think) one of the big things was “Bloom where you’re planted” – when I see your name, I think “He plants them where He wants them to bloom.” Be of good cheer – you have been used of God!!)
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 7:51 AM by javadawn

  13. javadawn says:

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. I do know that there is absolutely no waste in God’s economy. He does not pick up little girls from half way around the world (Beijing, China) and plop them into our lives for no reason. I have been driven to Him over and over again in ackowledgment of my great helplessness and inability, and been blown away as He has revealed more of Himself to me as a result.

    Your prayers are also greatly appreciated. ” I shall be praying for you to be filled with fresh love for this daughter – pure love, with no judgement (as would be MY own tendency) – that she may be able to find her way back home to your heart – to FATHER’S heart when this time of learning is done.” I’m slowly learning the joy of bringing things to Him in prayer so that I can see things from His perspective (and have my attitudes changed as a result), rather than “get” things from Him in answer to my requests. What a difference that is making!
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 1:11 PM by Frowerette –

  14. javadawn says:

    Ok Dawn, my rabbit trail question is a bit jumbled in my mind as to what I am actually asking, but let me see if I can clarify it better….

    The different authority we have set up in the scripture, God, Christ, Church Elders, Government, Husbands, Parents (did I leave any out?) there are certain realms of governance given and authority to enact consequences for disobedience. Now, when it comes to the husband wife relationship though it is tended to be painted in the practical teachings in christendom more as a 51/49 split with the husband having very little real practical authority. So I think my question is, why do we expect our children to obey us and then enact consequences when they don’t, why do we except the governemtn to have consequences, why do we believe in church discipline, why do we know and find goodness in God correcting us, but then leave the husband/wife relationship in a compeltely different realm? Does that make any sense?

    Like I said, big rabbit trail, and it is such a half formed thought/question in my mind that I don’t know if it is a crazy comparison or not. Anyway, if that makes any better sense…..

    Feel free to ignore the girl over here in the corner asking all the “why is the sky blue?” sorts of questions. Generally those sorts o pupils are told to be quiet and let the rest of the class have a chance to learn too.

    ~Tiffany

    Posted 8/17/2006 at 3:37 PM by tlnicholas –

  15. javadawn says:

    Tiffany, I LOVE the “Ystudents” : )

    One more question for you, that might help you finish forming your question… what specifically does Scripture call us to, in regards to our relationship with our hubbies?
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 3:52 PM by javadawn

  16. javadawn says:

    Wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord…….

    It seems the “as unto the Lord” is really the significant part of the command. Otherwise we could define submit in whatever way we want. Not sure though if that helps me with my question or not…..totally on the page of it being a 100/0 split and yet this beautiful balance of interaction like Christ and the church. But there isn’t any funny business about the church getting to have the reigns of the relationship. Ack, my brain is so fried today!!!! It might be time to stop thinking and go back to folding laundry and let the work of that be my prayer as I’m not sure anything else is going to make sense at the moment.

    If you can make sense of my question, fill me in, will ya?

    Posted 8/17/2006 at 6:01 PM by tlnicholas

  17. javadawn says:

    Herein lies my dilemma – I don’t see submit as being the same thing as obey.

    I see obedience being called for from children to adults (hence we must obey God the Father) but in the husband/wife relationship I see submission being something far greater and far more exquisite than obedience. I see it as a lying down of equality (like Christ did….) and choosing to submit to our husbands.

    Obedience seems to be required of one in a subservient or child to adult position – but that is not how the Lord has created husband and wife. Because of this, the bending of our will in submission seems to be a greater gift, by far, than one of obedience. (To the Lord and to parents were the only issues of obedience I could find)

    When I read “as unto the Lord” I read it as a call for us to submit as we will to our Bridegroom Jesus. Therefore that would imply to me that, should we choose to not submit to our man, we are accountable unto the Lord, rather than to our husband. Our hubbies, no matter how wonderful, are not able to require or force that submission from us – it must be a surrendering of one equal to the other, to make it glorious. (This makes me think of how glorious it was that Jesus submitted Himself to God. The fact that He was Equal to God, then exalts the act of the submitting, taking it from being a position of lowliness, of one under authority; to becoming one of honoring, in love, the one (One) being submitted unto.) For if we submit to one who is our superior, that is only right. But, to submit to an equal implies a lowliness of heart and humility. (Which, I assure you, in my life can only come from a work of God!!!!!!!!)

    Am I communicating my heart here, at all?! (I’m running in and out, finishing dinner up, so it’s quite likely I am not.) 8 /
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 6:41 PM by javadawn

  18. javadawn says:

    communicating quite well and giving me much to ponder to boot! thanks dawn!
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 6:59 PM by tlnicholas

  19. javadawn says:

    Dawn, I think you said this very well. You’ve thought it through carefully, and expressed yourself…quite well! How do you do this while you make supper?

    Posted 8/17/2006 at 9:23 PM by polimommy

  20. javadawn says:

    You read the title – Truly, truly AMAZING grace. : ) Holly, actually, this is the fruit of years of wrestling and battling in this whole arena. May I…very (VERY) honestly say submission wasn’t my MO for a long time in our marriage. (MY MO was manipulation and condemnation!) It certainly didn’t come easily. Now, if there is any indication of it in me, you may be rest assured that it is totally from God.
    Posted 8/17/2006 at 9:29 PM by javadawn

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