How Eternity Changes My Parenting

“Tell yourself that whenever your eyes see or your ears hear of the sins, weaknesses, or failures of your children, you are never to see them as interruptions or hassles.  These moments must always be viewed as times to show grace.” (Paul David Tripp, Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It)

Okay, girls, books are all done; can you please go brush your teeth? We’ve been brushing our teeth at bedtime every single night for years (we are still working on faithfully brushing in the morning #realtalk).  So, last night when I made this routine request, I expected immediate obedience. I did not anticipate for my oldest, and typically most compliant, to negotiate, drag her feet, and need additional prodding.

I absolutely saw this behavior as an interruption –the day’s tasks and Beckett’s atypical drama (sobbing on the floor style) that evening had left me drained.  I was already planning how I’d quickly made Audrey’s lunch, empty the dish drainer, and head to the couch to sit for a few minutes. But, standing between me and quiet sitting was teeth-brushing and tucking-covers. I would like to say that most of the time, I view my people’s failures and sin as times to show grace.

But, in truth, even though there are many times that I do show grace, in my mind I still see the incident as an interruption.

A squabble between the girls over the pink calculator while I am prepping dinner–interruption.

Pulling hair entwined in Beckett’s fingers and helping him show love to his sister whose hair he just removed–interruption.

Charlotte trying to sneakily cheat, so she wins Skunk Bingo–interruption.

So, what if I change my perspective.  What if I start to expect that God has called me to the process of parenting, not the task of parenting?  What if I plan on my kids sins and failures hanging out everyday (mine sure do)? What if, by God’s grace through me, I begin to call what once was an interruption and opportunity?

What if I thank God for my people’s sins hanging out because it means a chance for them to be part of God’s loving process of “rescue, change, and growth”?

Paul David Tripp’s book, Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It has more to say on parenting that I’ve been reflecting upon and will be sharing.  But, for today, let us ask God to help us to be helpers to our children.  Let our goals not be children who always behave or make us look good.

Let our goal be to find opportunities, everyday, to show grace to our children and help them to see about God what they aren’t yet seeing.




A First Day of School Prayer

For the Mommas

At the very top of our neighbor’s tall maple tree I can see the touches of fall color sneaking in; and in the same way, it feels to my heart as if this new school year quietly snuck in while we were busy running from Beckett’s new squirt gun and roasting marshmallows. And yet, I know that for everything there is a season; I ache to let go of summer’s unscheduled days and uncounted hours of time with all my babies home, but God calls us forward.

I had such joy last night as we tucked the girls in and saw their nervous anticipation–I loved school.  (If they didn’t make you pay for the classes, I’d probably still be in school.)  And, I have such an ache as I try to imagine how different our days at home will look.

So, mommas, this morning, I am praying for us and sharing my back to school prayer (updated from 2015)

Father God,

Thank you for entrusting these children to our care.  Thank you that in our deep love for them, we get to experience a shadow of your never-stopping, never giving up, always and forever love for us. 

Tomorrow many of us will take one (or two or three) of these precious ones to a place that isn’t home–we will help hang backpacks on hooks, take pictures in front of welcome signs, give kisses, squeeze little hands, and bite our lips until we’re out in the parking lot or back in our minivans where our tears can escape.

You know the pain of sending your child out–comfort us.  

You know we are anxious; we are wondering where they will sit at lunch and if they’ll trip in gym, or swing alone at recess–calm us.

You know we want to protect them–but, You will do a much better job.

You know the feelings we can’t put into words–carry them, carry us.

Hide us under your wings as we trust You because these babies who live in our homes–they’re yours.

Help us this school year to teach them that you make them brave, strong, and able.  Let us send them off each morning as arrows for your kingdom and let their sincere love for you pierce the hearts of those who are far from you.