Most lights have been taken down with Christmas in the rear view as we march onward and upward into a bright new year. I say most lights and not all because here in the south some people have a hard time letting go of Christmas. Who am I kidding? A great number of people leave their lights up year round but that’s a story for another day. The fact that I almost cancelled Christmas is but a fading memory now and I’m almost and yet not quite ready to laugh about the incident.
Oh, you didn’t hear?
One day while I was away the boys succumbed to temptation and viewed my Amazon cart full of their Christmas gifts. The idea of cancelling Christmas was given serious thought and consideration. Thankfully they were overwhelmed with remorse and quick to repent. Alas, a decision was made after a quick Facebook poll with additional tales of grace and gentle reminders of how many times our good, good, Father has forgiven my many and varied sins.
Today’s guest post is written by Lee Nienhuis. Her book, Brave Moms, Brave Kids released yesterday and is already #1 on Amazon in Christian Families!!! Lee is a passionate Bible teacher whose love for the Lord and the Word is contagious. She is an area coordinator for Moms in Prayer International and a sought-after speaker who shares a dynamic vision for the next generation of Christ followers. Lee and her farmer-husband, Mike, have four kids and live on four acres of grass in West Michigan.
Perfect parents do not exist.
Occasionally, I feel like telling the kids that the quarters I find in our laundry machines will be used to fund their counseling as adults. I can wake up to a peaceful house, make a cup of coffee, spend an hour with the Lord, and even pray for the day that lies ahead of us all… and then walk five feet into my “not a morning person” daughter’s room and need to hit my knees in repentance again.
I wasn’t very far into motherhood when I began to realize that some of the misbehavior
and attitude problems in my kids were caused in part by the actions and attitudes of
their mother. I’ve been known to be selfish when they’ve interrupted my sleep, to raise
my voice when it wasn’t necessary or helpful, and to fail to listen when I hurt their
feelings. I’m not perfect, and I’m pretty sure you aren’t either.
Our job as mothers is to help our children know and experience the love of their
heavenly Father. Yes, this is done when we read Scripture to them and talk to them
about the Lord, but we also have the privilege and responsibility of modeling the love,
discipline, forgiveness, and grace of God as well.
This is no small task. We must somehow learn to create an environment that resembles
the spiritual truths at work in the gospel story. Of course, we need to teach our children
there are consequences for sinful choices, but we also need to show them through the
actions of our love that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Confession and asking forgiveness restores our relationship with the Father, and should
also restore relationship with us as well. We should be longing to forgive our children,
and willing to ask their forgiveness when appropriate, and restore them to relationship.
This practice looks like God and paints the picture of the Gospel story in real-time.
Sometimes practicing the Gospel means my child is the one who needs to admit sin,
repent of it, and make a game plan to run from it. Part of this also means teaching my
child how to say a good “I’m sorry” in the terms of true repentance.
By asking our children for forgiveness, we are cultivating in them the idea that home is
the place where it is okay to fail and try again. Home should be the safest place for our
children to err and be restored. We are working together to build our strengths and
support each other in our weaknesses, and to come home.
Home is a place of forgiveness and grace, and that starts with me.
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