Wednesday, July 3, 2013

gospeless parenting

gospeless parenting:
that's the title of my parenting tactics today.
we're working on some pretty stubborn heart issues with our oldest, who's almost 7. so much so, that i am cherishing the summer as we spend time working through them, discussing them, and giving consequences for them so that he will turn to Jesus as his only hope to change.

sometimes i do it right and a lot of times a do it wrong. for instance, i will give a consequence to Layne for not being obedient. when i give the consequence, he usually comes up with about 3 things to say afterwards about how he didn't mean to hit his sister.
layne: i accidentally turned around and my arm spun into her.
me: well, i actually watched you intentionally hit her. on purpose after she took your lego.
layne: you never listen to me!
me: buddy, if you continue to speak to me like that, you'll have another consequence. 
layne: you don't love me! i did nothing wrong!
me: that's not true. i will have to add to your punishment...and we will talk about this later when you calm down.

one consequence i use is writing verses.

so after disobeying me a couple times, i said, go write on the board 2 times:
children, obey your parents.

he wrote them, apologized and went to play legos.

i guess that actually could look effective. i got what i wanted, right? an apology and he stopped the unwanted behavior. but wait, there's more! it's shrouded in spirituality because i'm making him write bible verses.
actually, tonight as i read through my bible plan, coincidentally i read that verse in it's entirety and it smacked me in my face. coincidentally or... Godidentally? i made myself laugh just now. ignore me.

Ephesians 6:1
children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. IN THE LORD.




i forgot the most important part. the only way layne can truly obey me is if God helps him to do so. otherwise, he is simply modifying his behavior. this same behavior, like in my own life, will come up again and again because we are bearing the burden of change, not God.

i am layne. the only way for me to truly obey God is by asking him to change my heart and help me obey. we are no different.

but if the Gospel says He's our only hope for lasting change, then why do i preach moralism to my children which leads to death and despair? when it will not help them see the cross...that Jesus' death made the subsitition for us. not Jesus' death AND good behavior. i want layne to know the freedom that the cross brings and the death that moralism brings.

i want to say, here's a consequence for your sin so that you will turn to God.
and here's the HOPE for change!
IN THE LORD.
memorize that. put that in your heart for when you forget. because even mommies forget.
God can change your heart but you can't.
that's really good news. that's what the gospel means, right? really, freaking good news for parents and for children who try so hard to be good for goodness sake.

our kids don't need morals. they need good news.

Lord, change my parenting so that it reflects who you are, not who i am and what i want. help me to point my children to you and away from me. change their hearts and then let it reflect in their actions. and when their behavior doesn't reflect you, give me wisdom and boldness to share how you took all their bad and ugly when you died on the cross. help me to remember that too for myself...i forget so quickly.
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if you would like to print that verse as a reminder, you can find it here in color.
or here in black and white.

46 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful post. You're a good mama.

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  2. This is SO where I'm at, too! I'm slowly working my way through your buddy Elyse Fitzpatrick's book Giving Them Grace...and it is SO hard! Moralism is so much easier, because trusting God to change their hearts is absolutely out of my control...which really is the point!

    We are working on memorizing verses this summer, and I refrained from having them memorize ones that I could use to make them feel bad about their behavior, and instead chose ones that focus on Jesus. Baby steps for this mama! Here's what I'm doing: http://goodbadquirky.blogspot.com/2013/06/mommys-jesus-catechism.html

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  3. I'm so thankful for this post. My oldest,8, tries so very hard to do everything we ask- to be "perfect" in our eyes. For a while I walked around thnking "Hmmm- we're awesome parents! Look at her being all lovely ALL the time! Other parents could learn from us..." Oh. My. Word.
    Lately I've been convicted by her "goodness" and my having created an environment where she's trying to be "good enough" (sorry for all the quotations).
    This post is what I've been searching for- knowing that something needed to change about our parenting, but unsure how to pinpoint exactly what. So thankful that God used your experience to help me in mine. He's amazingly merciful that way :).

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    1. it's so good that you are observing this even now. when layne wants to be recognized for something, is grabbing attention or whatever, i say...buddy do you know that i love you the same whether you are good or bad? i try and relate it to how God loves us. i don't do this everytime... but it has been helpful. xoxo

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  4. Good word. Much needed reminder.

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  5. Yes and yes. I've had to walk this hard and faith-filled road with my oldest, a 12-year-old with bipolar and autism. And yes, I often suffer from spiritual amnesia and try to just produce the good behavior we desire in the immediate. But, when I remember, or rather, when our kind Father pulls me gently out of myself, I see the fruit.

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    1. seriously. i was just talking about this with hannah singer. google her. she has an autistic babes... i'm thinking...and where is the apendix for the special needs child in the bible? lol. the gospel cuts through though.

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  6. i'm reading grace parenting now.... rocking my world.

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  7. i'm reading grace parenting now.... rocking my world.

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  8. We're expecting our first in December and I'm already struggling w parenting issues/stress. This was a beautiful reminder that my hope (success and failures) as a mommy will be IN HIM. Lord help me point my little boy to you in all my ways.

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    1. AAAAAmen. if only i knew this truth before my first! ha

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  9. this is amazing. i don't have kids - but so powerful none the less!

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  10. Loved this post. our kids don't need morals. they need good news- awesome.

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  11. Oh, I so needed to read this. My son is also 7, and from what I am reading from you, it sounds like a very similar situation in our home. I'm bad about expecting behavior change instead of heart change. I guess it's a reflection of my own heart issues...sort of the clean dish on the outside, but dirty on the inside. I'm sure your intent was to share what the Lord is teaching you, but He is using your words to convict me :) (that's a compliment, not a complaint!)

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    1. you're such an encouragement and have been for a while on this blog. thanks for your sweet words.

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  12. Awesome! Love the insight that you have given and the hope you have reminded us mommies that we can have IN THE LORD!

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  13. I love your honesty and openness about what God is showing you. Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear/read that today.

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    1. thanks for your sweet words. it means a lot.

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  14. Oh my geez! Consider me a new follower based on this post alone. Gospeless parenting. That's me. I'm also gospeless marriage-ing. I'm gospeless living.


    I had a come to Jesus today with, well, Jesus. I started a prayer journal today that I'm calling my conversations with God. It's allowing me to be real with myself and with the Almighty, who alre isady knows where I struggle. My struggle is attempting to do everything on my own. The result of my sin of pridefulness? It's not a dark, horrible, immediate destruction of everything I love. It's a slow falling away. It's an everyday struggle to keep my head barely above water. My head knowledge has been severed from my heart's desire. I know that the way to be happy is to live fully in His grace, seeking to display His glory. My heart has decided that His glory is not enough--when that's the ONLY thing that should be my motivation. It's all for His glory because He is worthy of all praise and adoration. My life is not glorifying.


    So why all the wordiness? Because my prayer today was that I change, but not from any of my own flesh efforts, but from His merciful hands. That way I can be the wife that shows the love of Christ to my husband. I can be the mother that not only teaches the practicality of consequences, but also the grace and mercy that has so abundantly been given to me from the hands of the Redeemer. So that everything I do points to the One who has overcome.

    So thank you.

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    1. we're all there. we all need help and direction!

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  15. i need this very much.
    it's hard for me. to remember and apply the gospel to my parenting.
    i mean, i am a selfish, impatient know-it-all most days.
    and i often feel alone and like "but this is different, god"
    jesus is slowly and painfully showing me that just because we've got autism in the mix, it doesn't really look that different in light of scripture. HE IS STILL GOD, and i am not. lord help me to walk in the freedom of your finished work. write it on my heart, you have equipped me for exactly what you've measured out in my motherhood.

    i love you. and this post a reason why.

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    1. i feel that way too. but what about my special needs kid?! the gospel cuts through it all.

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  16. This is great. Now how do I get my 3 y/o understand this?

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    1. i think we all have that same question! have you read give them grace by else fitzpatrick?

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  17. I was made to write out verses for punishment. It made me resentful & view the Bible w/ rebellion in my heart. I'm so grateful to be a parent that is healed from that, & in love w/ Jesus. Glad to know His wisdom to bring good out of mine & my parents failures. Great blog! Xoxo

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    1. ya, it's questionable. i mean, it could go both ways. like just making him write scripture with out showing him the relationship with Jesus, can be counterproductive. i have done that because i'm an idiot and i'm learning.
      but i also think it is valuable. God throughout the bible guides people with his words, scripture, even through their discipline. and layne writes scripture while getting disciplined and also while not getting disciplined. like just a part of the day. it has proven more effective than spanking at this point for him. we used to spank for everything and i thought it was excessive. so i don't claim that it's for everyone or that i don't misuse it sometimes...the same goes for people when they spank, right? misused, shrowded in spirituality b/c the bible says to do it...but actually can be harmful.

      so i guess it comes down to what you feel like God is asking you to do with your kids right in that moment, in that behavior.
      scripture is simply the law and it shows us where we fall short. but in that, it also points us to a great hope. we need a savior...we can't keep one of the commands actually without effing it up. and that is what i'm getting at with layne. we often write the verse together and i repent in front of him for doing it wrong. it's a conversation. and it has produced some powerful fruit.

      again, i'm learning. this might change in a couple months. LOL. poor oldest child. but dammit, i'm trying! ha.

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  21. I loved reading this. It helped my perspective and I really learned something from it. Thank you!

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    1. learn form my mistakes. ha! we all have a steep learning curve.

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  22. This post was absolutely beautiful! I have never heard the Gospel applied to parenting like that... although I don't have any children at the moment, if that day comes I definitely hope to apply the Gospel as you're striving to do! =))

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    1. if only i had this perspective before having kids! :)

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  23. Dang, Jami. You are such a woman of wisdom. I don't have kids yet but this struck a chord with me. Our circumstances are different in life, but His truth remains applicable for every season. Good word!

    Hannah
    hannahbunker.com

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    1. hey you. thanks for your sweet words. love to you.

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  24. Love this. Thanks for your honesty- I am reading through "Give them Grace" and Elyse is opening my eyes to how this exact biblical principle and I'm realizing I won't be able to teach my son how to rely on the Lord to change and ask Him for help if I'm not doing it. I'm so thankful our God reminds us of this and "gently" steers us toward Him :)

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    1. that book is kicking my butt. :)

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  25. i love how this spoke to my heart even though i'm not a mommy yet. thank you!

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  26. AMEN! I also want to add to the prayer because of my sin: And when my kids do obey me, may my heart not be prideful to think that I've changed their hearts when only You can.

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