helping my family yearn for the true bread that gives life.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

-Titus 2

Titus 2:3-5 is commonly used to describe how women ought to live and why: “so the word of God is not reviled.” Verses 11-14 expand on the why.

I often feel the works I preform throughout my day are meaningless…diapers, dinner, discipline, picking up the same toys every hour….Scripture tells me to preform my duties as a wife and mother with ZEAL! I am called to live out my days doing these things in love for my family and for my Lord, with my hope rooted in the appearing of Jesus and His glory. This means joyfully pardoning my husband (and holding my tongue) when he leaves his clothes scattered around, remembering how the Lord has greatly pardoned me. It means digging deep into the well of God’s patience during those nighttime feedings. It looks like having a conversation with my husband or playing with Jackson even though the dishes are still dirty, because my rest and peace comes from God, not from how controlled my surroundings are.

As I live this way to make the gospel beautiful and delight in Christ, my family will notice. Hopefully they will be drawn to adore and yearn for Christ! Thus, I get to join in God’s mission of creating a people for His own possession! Lord willing, I am ushering in the kingdom in my tiny apartment! What a high calling! I love how Gloria Furman puts in: “Feast your soul on the bread of life and do whatever you need to do in order to help people yearn for the true bread that gives life!” (Give them Grace).

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on pleasure, displeasure, & steadfast love…

Tonight at dinner it was one of those rare moments when I was not hurried to clean up the dishes or get Jackson to bed, but instead we were all sitting around laughing. Jackson was minicing the crazy sounds Kevin was making and giggling so hard he was spitting applesauce…it was a good time. Then he got so excited he picked up his food and threw it off his tray (which he knows has been a no-no since 6 months old!) Kevin and my smiles immediately turned stern and we said “No-no” in a very direct way. Jackson knew what he did was wrong, in fact I think he was a little surprised he threw the food to begin with! He looked at our stern faces and his eyes started to well up. His lip was quivering, shifting his gaze from Kevin, to me, and back. And then after about 10 long seconds of the saddest face you could imagine, huge, silent, alligator tears rolled down his cheeks.

My heart sunk.

I immediately wrapped my arms around him which made him full-out cry, and it took a few minutes for him to calm down again. I’ll never forget that moment.

Jackson was finding so much joy in our company tonight. He saw the pleasure in our faces and knew we were enjoying him too. All was the way it was meant to be. But when our faces turned to displeasure because of his disobedience, he was grieved to the point of tears. What a powerful picture!

Because of Christ’s death on our behalf, our sin no longer separates us from God’s steadfast love. In the same way, nothing could EVER change my love for Jack. There is nothing that he could do that would lead me to turn my back on him or disown him. However, just as life with Jack is more enjoyable when he is obedient and we are able to laugh together instead of discipline him, life with God is more enjoyable when we are living godly lives and communing with Him the way we were created to. It saddens and displeases the heart of God to discipline us, even though it is for our good, in the same way we are saddened when Jackson disobeys.

The grief that Jackson displayed tonight when our pleasure turned to displeasure was a very dramatic, emotional experience for me. I long to feel that kind of grief when I see my sin and the way it hurts my Heavenly Father. I pray that I would only long to bring pleasure to the heart of God always. However, regardless of whether I’m at my worst or my best, I have assurance that I am loved, accepted, and kept forever by God. As Jackson grows, I hope that I can always communicate to him that even though I may have to discipline him, he is never outside of my love.

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what kind of family traditions do you have?

As a new wife, I have started thinking about values and traditions that Kevin and I want to put in motion now, before we try and start a family someday. Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper has given me a platform of why we do traditions and how to make them God-centered. However, I am interested to see what other families have made daily, weekly, or seasonal traditions in their home. So that is my question: what kind of gospel-centered family traditions do you have?

I am specifically interested in Advent/Christmas traditions, since Kevin and I made the decision to spend every Christmas day at home with just “our” family (just the two of us now, but hopefully someday our children too).

Go ahead and start replying!!

Give Them Grace: Introduction

 

**Preface: Everything I write on this topic is simply restating the information. I am still figuring out what I think about this topic and more specifically, I don’t have kids. Feel free to post your reactions/questions/ or personal experiences!

 

 

What makes our parenting distinctly “Christian?”

We are not perfect parents and we don’t have perfect kids. But to remedy our mutual imperfections isn’t more law, even if it seems to produce tidy or polite children. Kids will use the law the same way we do—ignore it, bend it, or obey it outwardly from a selfish heart. This is for certain: they won’t obey it from the heart. They can’t. This is why Jesus had to die. Christian children and their parents don’t need to learn to be “nice”. They need death and resurrection and a Savior who has done before them as a faithful high priest, who lived and died perfectly in their place. They need a savior who extends the offer of complete forgiveness, complete righteousness, and indissolvable adoption to all who believe.

The funny thing is, we all know the gospel and share it with girls we disciple or non-Christian co-workers. On our blogs or in triad, we share our war against trusting in our own goodness. But something happens when we begin training miniature unbelievers in our own home. We forget the deadliness of relying on our own righteousness and we teach that the Bible and Christianity is all about their behavior and how because of it, “God is happy” or “God is sad” on any given day. And we wonder why there are so many nominal Christians in the world who base their standing with God on their moral life choices and a prayer they prayed once at Sunday school when they asked Jesus into their heart. Or we wonder why so many good meaning parents raise children who end up denying the faith or rebelling as soon as they can. I mean, who would want to deny himself, lay down his life, or suffer for something as boring as “Say your sorry,” or “be nice,” or “don’t hang around them.” Is that the message that has both empowered and caused persecution to the church for the past 2000 years?

The grace that has been lavished on us through Christ ought to make our parenting or teaching radically different. At the deepest level of what we do, we should hear the heartbeat of a loving, grace-giving father who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters (and that includes us adults who don’t have it all together either). We can’t save ourselves any more than we can save our children. And that is why we need to share the gospel, the message of salvation. God will use us as we give grace to our children, but salvation is entirely from the faithful, soul-transforming, blood-covering, One.

 

Sounds like the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction? You may be asking “So….what about my kid’s obedience?”Answer: I don’t know. TBA!

New Series: Give them Grace.

I am going to begin a second running series tracking my thoughts on the book, “Give Them Grace: Dazzling your kids with the Love of Jesus” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. I picked this book up at Fitzpatrick’s women’s conference hosted by Sojourn in August. I would say that it is by far the most controversial books I’ve ever read and when I say controversial, I don’t mean in our christian circles but in our hearts.

Of course we would never say that we want our kids (or the kids we teach) to grow up to be little moralists. We would never claim that they will go to heaven because of what they do. The problem of moralism, or “being a good person,” is the very pattern that enslaves us and is so hard for us to undo. It is the very problem that evangelical churches preach AGAINST every Sunday: nothing you do will please God or make you right with him.

So if we want to keep our children from a life of works-based righteousness and trying to earn the approval of God and if we want them to fully love and trust the God of grace through the cross of Christ, how are we supposed to discipline, rebuke, and train? How are we supposed to tell our child “stop” or “listen” when they do not understand the very gospel that makes them free to obey? Do we tell our unregenerate children that God is pleased with them because they shared a crayon or bowed their head for a mealtime prayer, when the bible clearly says that anyone who does not trust in the finished work of Christ, but rather submits to the burden of the law will be killed by it; a child of wrath in the eyes of God?

But are we supposed to just let our children do whatever they want, disrespect authority, and be hurtful to others until they become a believer? Don’t we still want our children to be “good?”

Yikes is right.

This book has been confusing, convicting, challenging, and beautiful. It impresses a heavy weight on the call to parenting and ensures that every moment is an opportunity to lead your child to legalism or to the gospel of grace and thus, the feet of Jesus. Fitzpatrick has been undoing much of what I thought it meant to “train a child.” Hopefully, as I stumble through this book, my thoughts and questions can be insightful, a blessing, and a springboard to conversation. Stay tuned!