Thursday, March 21, 2013

Desperate: Chapter 4

Due to a field trip to our state capitol this week, I was not able to post our discussion on Monday.  I sincerely apologize.  I am making up for it by doing chapter four today and chapter five tomorrow.

While my life-changing chapter was three, I know of some ladies who may feel that way about this chapter entitled, "Oh Right, There's Sin."  This chapter helps me to realize that a lot of my impatience towards my children is exactly what I fight on a daily basis myself - sin.

There is so much in this chapter that I just can't cover all of it.  That's why you ladies are reading the book.  I would love to hear how this chapter blessed you, especially if I don't cover the particular area that most spoke to you.

Discipline

Sarah Mae talks about various discipline tactics.  I am not going to get into the corporal punishment debate, but I will say that I have learned, like the authors, that not all forms of punishment work for all children. Just because standing one child in the corner for an hour cured him of lying doesn't mean the next child will respond in the same way.  That child may need to be lied to in order to realize how hurtful lies can be.  Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all method.  The biblical principle is most definitely chastisement for rebellion and sin.  However, each parent needs to SEE their children as individuals and ASK God for great wisdom in reaching each heart.

Why do I expect perfection from my children while simultaneously enjoying the great grace God has toward me? 

Sarah Mae helped me to see Hebrews 4:16 in a whole new light:  "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

I claim this verse as a child of God.  How blessed it is to know that I can approach God's throne at any time and that He will be gracious.  I can receive mercy and grace in the form of forgiveness whenever I am in desperate need.  What a promise I hold dear!  Now...am I willing to be this gracious to my children?  I am to be like Christ.  Do I practice His grace?  Do my children feel free to approach me at any time?  Will they receive grace and mercy from their mother or will they receive sarcasm and resentment?  Do they feel that I will help them in their times of need or do they believe I will criticize and condemn them?  Am I thanking God for His kindness toward me one minute and harshly judging and punishing my child the next?

"...at what age did you stop sinning? Because that's when our children will stop." -Clay Clarkson

This chapter isn't a chapter about whether or not to discipline.  It's about how we respond to our children's disobedience and sinful nature.  If we remember that our children are sinners being raised by sinners, we should have a lot more patience with them.  Like Sarah Mae reminds us, "We are all just a work in progress."  Help your children progress towards holiness - and they will help you progress towards holiness as they give you opportunity to show the grace of Christ.

"Wrong expectations produce anger and depression." -Sally Clarkson

Our children are not out to get us.  They don't sit in their beds and plan mischief in order to make us think we are failures as mothers.  Our children are sinners.  If we expect that a certain parenting method will make our children the perfect cherubs we dream of (that are so opposite from our very selves), we will only be angry when those methods fail.  When we forget that our children are sinners just like us, we will be angry when they display that natural man instead of taking that opportunity to show them their sin and help them overcome through Jesus Christ.

If we expect to be the perfect mother because we are reading our Bible daily, praying, and memorizing scripture, we will only be depressed when we fall, yet again, due to our sinful nature.  We will sin every day we breathe on this earth.  We have a loving God who will graciously forgive us and, because of this, we don't need to be depressed.  We can, instead, "walk forward with confidence." God is with us and, even though He knows we are nothing but weak sinners, He is willing to use us to mold our children for Him.  He will give us the strength we need.  Do not despair, rejoice in the opportunity to lean on the God of the universe!

"I offer to Him all that I am and all that I have, limitations included."  -Sally Clarkson

We are sinners.  Our children are sinners.  Our families will not be perfect, but we can give all that we have to God and He will use it the way He sees fit...which is often beyond our wildest imaginations!


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