What a privilege and high call parenting is. We have such a great opportunity to pour into and invest in the next generation. Will we take up the call?
As parents, we can often get so caught up in doing everything exactly correct. We want to be steadfast and consistent, administering consequences for poor behaviors to properly train our children, and making sure we do everything we can to get this parenting thing just right. However, we can get so caught up in training our children correctly that we forget about something so simple, yet very important: grace.
When I stop and take time to meditate on the depth of God’s grace and mercy in my life, it causes me to want to do the same for my children. It draws me to something contrary to my human nature and personality in parenting. It causes me to “break the rules” and be inconsistent in my parenting in order to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Awhile back the Lord drew me to memorize Psalm 103. What a beautiful chapter! It gives such a clear picture of the goodness and mercy of the Lord. He is so faithful.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
(Psalm 103:8-10, emphasis added)
God is holy and just. Yet, we must not forget how gracious He is. We deserve eternal punishment, yet He has made a way of salvation for us through His Son, Jesus.
As parents, we must rely on the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit not only as we make difficult decisions, but also in our day-to-day parenting interactions. We must not base our parenting solely on our human logic and reasoning. Consistency is key in raising children; and we must not falter in providing our children with structure and even much needed discipline (see Proverbs 13:24). But this can often become a focus and a strict pattern of certain behavior gets certain consequences. We begin to parent solely out of rules, regulations, and our good ideas. Meanwhile God the Father fathers us out of His mercy and grace, not only His righteousness and holy judgement. And we should aim to follow His example.
I can recount many times when my children have done something wrong and knew they should get the standard consequence, but the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to my heart to have grace on them and simply release them. In fact, in a certain season of my parenting, it happened so often that my children would ask me to just have mercy on them instead of getting a consequence.
I believe God is calling us to parent our children by the leading and guidance of His Holy Spirit; not by what we’ve read in a parenting book or by what we think is a good idea. We must be willing to break the rules if it means we’re obeying the Holy Spirit. We must not get into a habit of parenting from our own human wisdom, but instead commit each and every parenting decision to the Lord.
The next time your child is out of line and needs correction, ask the Holy Spirit how to handle it. Let’s not get stuck in a rut of simple routines. We must be willing to obey when the Holy Spirit asks us to parent contrary to our upbringing or even what seems like the right thing. I can assure you that your children’s hearts will soften toward you and you will see much fruit from this power of grace. The grace of our heavenly Father is a perfect example of what the power of grace can do! Try grace on your child and see the fruit it bears. You will never regret inviting the Holy Spirit into each and every parenting decision, but you will regret it if you do not.
May God bless your parenting with the wisdom that comes only from Him!
Father God, I ask you to bless each and every reader with the commitment to parent their children the way you are leading them to. Give them grace in the hard times and teach them to rely on You, the Holy Spirit, and not their own human reasoning, each and every time they parent. Bless each parent with bountiful vision and favor in their parenting. You are a good Father. May we resemble you clearly in our parenting to our children. Amen.