(highlights from things I’m reading – Parenting The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family Paul David Tripp has some amazing insight. )
God never calls you to a task without giving you what you need to do it. He never sends you without going with you.
Way too many Christian parents have a great big, trouble-causing gap in their understanding, celebration of, and reliance upon God’s grace… There is nothing more important to consistent, faithful, patient, loving, and effective parenting than to understand what God has given you in the grace of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe you’re thinking right now, “Paul, I don’t need more theology; I need practical help. I believe everything the Bible has to say, but it doesn’t seem to have helped my parenting!”… Understanding God’s grace will change you, and as it changes you, it will change the way you relate to and parent your children.
It is sad, and a source of so much parenting discouragement and trouble, that so many parents do their work in the middle of a hole in their grasp of God’s grace. Most Christian parents have a fairly good understanding of past grace, that is, the forgiveness they have received because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and they have a decent grasp of future grace, the place in eternity that is guaranteed them as a child of God. But the problem is that they have little understanding of present grace, the right here, right now benefits of the work of Christ for all of us living between the “already” (past grace) and the “not yet” (future grace). Vast numbers of parents think that the phrase “the gospel of God’s grace” has nothing to do with the exhaustion they can’t seem to shake, or the anger they can’t seem to defeat, or the street-level wisdom they feel they lack, or the need for the break they never seem to get. They hear sermons about God’s grace and they sing songs about God’s grace, but these don’t seem to address their struggles as parents. In fact, it seems that what they’re getting is anything but grace.
So it needs to be said and then explained that as a child of God, you have been given not only glorious past and future grace, but amazing present grace as well. This grace reaches you wherever God has placed you. This grace reaches you in your darkest parenting moments. This grace addresses your feeling of inability. This grace touches you when you feel you are at the end of your wisdom. This grace is yours for the taking when you’re walking down the hallway and you know that you’ve just blown it. This grace reaches you when your child seems rebellious and hard-hearted and you don’t know what to do. This grace touches you in moments of deep parental regret. It gives you a reason to get up in the morning and to be able to sleep at night, no matter what you’re facing at the moment. If you would ask me what is the most important thing that God has given you as a parent, I wouldn’t say the wisdom principles of his Word. No, I would say, “His grace!” Let me explain why.
(he goes on – outline)
- Like everything else God calls people to, God doesn’t call people to be parents because they are able.
- God never calls us to a task without giving us what we need to do it.
- God’s grace works to open your eyes to see yourself as a parent accurately.
Here’s the humbling conclusion that God, in grace, led me to: I am more like my children than unlike them—and so are you. The reality is that there are few struggles in the lives of my children that aren’t in my life as well (materialism, relationships, wanting my own way, attraction to the world, subtle idolatries, etc.). This admission transformed my parenting. Instead of approaching them with self-righteous outrage, I moved toward them as a sinner in need of grace needing to confront a sinner in need of grace. God’s plan is to make his invisible grace visible to children by sending parents of grace to give grace to children who need grace. And parents who know they need grace tend to want to give grace to children who are just like them.
- God’s grace frees you from having to deny your weaknesses
- God’s grace rescues you from you.
- God’s grace grows and changes you as a parent
- God’s grace works to make your heart tender.
- God’s grace liberates you from the prison of regret.
God has called you to be a parent. How does he give you what you need for this calling? He gives you what you need by giving you himself, and in giving you himself, he showers his amazing, forgiving, rescuing, transforming, empowering, and wisdom-giving grace down on you. As you parent today, you are invited to remember that you are not alone in your house with your children. Someone else walks the hallways and stands in the family room with you. Someone rides in the van with you on the way to yet another scary trip with your kids to the mall. Someone walks with you as you enter your teenager’s room to confront him about something he did. Someone is with you as you relive the events of the day before you fall asleep, preparing to face another parenting day. Someone is with you as you get up, already exhausted as usual, before the sun rises. The one who called you to this very important job is with you and because he is, there’s hope. Sure, there will be times when you’ll find yourself at the end of your rope, but fight fear and discouragement with expectancy; your Savior’s rope never ends, and he will never leave you alone!
Also published on Medium.