An Anointed Acronym (Okay, so it’s really just a mnemonic device, but doesn’t acronym sound cooler?)

At this time of year, we have quite a bit of ragweed in the air.  I am suspicious that this is also the time of year (or at least it was a few weeks ago when the questions started – poor friends I REALLY haven’t forgotten you!!) that parents struggle with questions and concepts concerning training our children in grace based ways.

I find this method of parenting infinitely harder than “normal” parenting and I also find it CLOAKED in confusion and questions.  So, to my six friends that all wrote and asked me about it in the same week, I am finally answering your questions.  I hope you’ll extend grace to me as I do it in a blog. I promise to protect your identities.  😉   (Which is more than I can do for myself.)   🙂 When the first question came I started praying and asking the Lord to help me sift what I have learned about Grace Based Parenting down into something not only DO-able, but REMEMBER-able.  (If your life even faintly resembles my own, you NEED remember-able almost more than doable. )

Here is what He graciously and immediately gave me:   (I know, so what’s taken so long to get it into word form?  You wouldn’t believe it if I tried to explain it!  😀  )   Grace Based Parenting System.

Did anyone else learn Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians using the mnemonic device of General Electric Power Company (or Gentiles Eat Pork Constantly) ?  This is like that.

Grace is for God

Grace based parenting is all about God.  It’s not about us.  It’s not about our comfort nor our lack of embarrassment.  It’s about teaching our children of the character of God through our actions and responses to them. It’s about teaching our children a RIGHT understanding of the character of God.  (You know of course that implies that WE know that, right?)    🙂

Please understand this does NOT mean that we allow our children to act horrendously in the name of grace.  Remember in Titus 2 we’re called to a lifestyle of training those who “come behind us” SO THAT the Word of God will not be dishonored.  We must have a vision for child training to prepare them for their Kingdom purpose.

Based is to remind us that the Bible is our source of wisdom and direction

Don’t allow other people’s ideas of what child training should be – including people who have impeccably well behaved children – to guide you…unless they can offer you Scriptural reasons for what they do.  And I don’t mean, “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.”

I have known some families whose children behave better than I do!!  (I plead the Fifth) But, in every one of those cases, the family doesn’t train their children through grace.  They are a family that is training only by law.

Remember, Scripture tells us that from the over flow of our hearts, our mouths speak.  What does your parenting say about the content of your heart?  (THIS IS NOT A QUESTION OF CONDEMNATION!!  It’s a question to check for legalism ONLY.)  Are your children obeying out of fear and control?

Remember when the Lord says, that it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance?  Yeah – our parenting needs to look like that.  (Anyone else’s toes being stepped on here?  Isn’t that kind of sick when your blogging steps on your own toes?)

Please understand the actions of a legalistic form of training can look exactly like those of a grace based parenting system.  The difference is the heart attitude of the parent.  Is your heart crying out, “You WILL obey me!”  or is your heart crying out in grief that they have fallen short of God’s glory?

Just as we begin operating under the law and move to being under grace, so too do our little ones.  They must experience the law, in order to know the abundant joy of grace.  HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean our parenting should be riddled with the law.  (Does that make sense – or would you prefer an example?)

Parenting is for personalized

Not all children look alike, therefore, not all methods of parenting work for all children.  Father doesn’t deal with us corporately – He has a plan for each of us and He loves each of us individually and He prunes each of us differently.

I know this sounds very hard – but it’s really not.

There are times that call for a spanking – but it’s not one given in anger.  I remember the Lord telling me YEARS ago, when I was getting ready to paddle a child in absolute fury, “There is never a reason to discipline a child out of anger.”  I remember YELLING, “WHAT?!!!”  Quietly the Holy Spirit quickened in my heart that I was not to tolerate dishonoring behavior nor defiance, but my anger was also not to be tolerated AND that the biggest reason I ended up being angry is that I didn’t deal with it promptly or correctly.  UGH.  (That’s like when I was grousing to Father, “Lord, WHAT is wrong with this child?!!” and He responded, “His mother.”  *shakes head*  I don’t like those kinds of responses.)  😀

Too often, we have gotten to the point that we see the things that our children are doing as being “against” us.  They are not.  They are against our holy God.  When we see their wrongs as against us, we begin – even subtly – to view them as the enemy.  I remember one time having a parent tell me that their children PURPOSEFULLY did things just to make them mad and that they were sick of their kids and and and.  You know what?  Our kids may be doing things to make us mad on purpose.  BUT Father says that love is patient and hopes all things.  I will make the choice to hope that that is not the case, rather than presume that my children are always doing things with the intent to make me angry.  The price tag on that mind set is simply too high to pay!

System is for Smooches

Our children need our love – a regular, continuous stream of loving and encouragement.  Both in word and deed.  (And as they get older, it’s even more important!)

God, Bible, Personalized, Smooches.  See, it’s “remember-able”?  And hopefully you will find it doable, as well.    🙂

I will give you fair warning – it’s going on 1:30 and I was up at 6 am.  My ability to think clearly and compose sentences that are lucid is slipping away quickly.  If what I’ve said here makes no sense – feel free to tell me so.  😀    Please also feel free to ask any questions about what I’ve said.  (I won’t read them tonight – and by the time I’m on tomorrow, I will even be able to answer them, I hope.)  😀

My final statement – my dear Sisters that all wrote and asked me about this – do not give up.  You’re doing the hardest work in the world.  The Word promises us that we are to not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Part of our call as Sisters in the Lord is to encourage one another to not grow weary.  (At least that’s part of what *I* need in a Sister, let me tell you!)  Because we are sowing – and sowing always has a harvest.

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Comments
6 Responses to “An Anointed Acronym (Okay, so it’s really just a mnemonic device, but doesn’t acronym sound cooler?)”
  1. April says:

    Glad to see you back and with such wisdom, Dawn! I needed this EXACT message today. EXACT. Thank you and bless you.

  2. javadawn says:

    April, Darlin’ YOU have a full plate. 🙂 (I’m just catching up on F’book and I was thrilled to read your news! Congrats!!!!)

    I’m so glad that it ministered to you where you are. You know, I have just been learning – well one of MANY things I’ve been learning (and you probably already know it!) is that when Christ refers to His yoke, He is talking of His Rabbinic yoke. I had never been taught that before.

    (For the uninitiated, as I was, the Rabbinic yoke was the particular slant of teaching that each Rabbi brought to his teaching.)

    So, when we consider that Christ said, “My way of doing this – My way of seeing the “Scriptures” is easy…” MAN it makes me stop and ask, “Why then does it seem so hard?” I think Grace Based Parenting is a lot like that!!!!

    I think that we try to make it so much more difficult than it needs to be. We have had such lousy teaching on what parenting is – it has been this nebulous “Gollygee, I hope you get this right, because if you don’t you will have messed this kid up for life..and worse yet, for God” mentality.

    Or worse yet, it’s been “Here is a one size fits all method of parenting” (which makes it brainless, not to mention heartless, in my estimation) that eliminates the idea of understanding that our parenting is imparting to our children a LIFE LONG (yep, there’s the guilt) 😉 understanding of Father.

    Thankfully there is grace for US – which is a whole lot more the truth of what parenting is about. US walking in grace and serving up large portions of it for our children.

    This just became another blog, didn’t it? 😛 Sorry.

    Thanks April for the comment – it’s so good to see you again!

  3. Merf says:

    Thank you for this post, Dawn. I’ve never commented before, but I have read your blog off and on since the days of the Choosing Home forum. I am just reading Families Where Grace is in Place and learning from it.

  4. javadawn says:

    Merf,

    Thank you my dear.

    Families Where Grace is in Place made me SO mad. 🙂 Now, ask me why. It was because it was challenging my flesh to the nth degree. Every legalistic bone in my body was fighting it like crazy. I even remember yelling at the book/author.

    You know what? I don’t even remember the content of it, I just know that it was the “knife” that but the hole in my exterior to prepare me for the changes that the Lord wanted to birth in me.

    So, when you’ve got time, I’d LOVE to hear what you learned from it. I might even have to go back and re-read it.

    (And Merf – don’t be so quiet!) 😉

  5. myderbe says:

    Ok, I am catching up on reading blogs.

    OUCH!!! I was doing so much better with this a while back, but I haven’t been doing such a great job lately. I’m sure your blog is the kick-in-the-pants, 2×4 upside the head that I needed. 😛

    My greatest struggles — parenting from a desire to not be embarrassed and parenting from laziness (“Do this because it makes my life easier, and I really want to go sit on the couch and have ice cream with your daddy.”).

    Ugh! I pray for God’s grace to make up for all the times I mess up big time.

  6. javadawn says:

    🙂 Darlin’ if you were doing good all the time, it would mean your children had all grown up and you just had grandchildren visiting you.

    Our children – and their weaknesses – are perfectly suited to help us deal with our own sins and allow the Lord to continue to conform us into the image of Christ. If you weren’t still battling that, you’d be done. 🙂

    So, acknowledge your weaknesses, rejoice that in them He is made strong in you and then keep on getting up and walking. 🙂 There IS grace surrounding all this. TONS and TONS and TONS of it.

    And, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go find Jeff and see if he wants to sit on the sofa and have some ice cream…MAN that sounds good. 😉 😀

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