I don’t know about you, but I have had kind of a rough summer. It’s HOT where I live, and that makes for some crabby people (myself included). And so much tension is in the air with all the American political rumblings and accusations from every angle. If there were ever a time I needed to draw on grace, it’s now.
I have come to realize that I cannot function without the flow of God’s grace in my life. I can attempt things and make plans, sure. I can organize a group and whip up some dinner on the fly…and I can come up with clever strategies to keep things buttoned down when all hell is breaking loose in my world. But, it’s only God’s grace that can inflate my heart. It’s only God’s grace that can compel me to care. It is the deep, mysterious grace of God that is the oil in the gears of my relationships; and without it, I’m stuck.
As I travel through Mom World, I have noticed my tendency to get wound up in frustration when my kids are not doing what I want them to do. When all my methods of motivation have yielded nothing, and threats of consequences fall on deaf ears, my default response is to lose it. I confess, I have yelled at my kids, given them angry looks and even disciplined them out of anger. But I really don’t want to be that kind of mom. I know that is not God’s grace at work in me – it is only my soul-ish attempt to control my children.
Enter God’s grace. When I make myself stop, exhale my own self-centered thoughts/desires/control issues, and inhale a large dose of the Holy Spirit and His life, then I can rise up to my fullest potential and design. When I let go of my own willful grasp on my children and release them to God, I can be free to parent them in the flow of His grace. It is not necessary for me to convey my anger or frustration to them. Those are my own issues! But the Holy Spirit can guide me past those soul-responses and help me surrender them. When I am fully surrendered, I am free. Grace is free-flowing when I will stop blocking it with my agenda, rules and expectations.
I know some of you are wondering – and probably formulating a rebuttal comment – “Well, do you just let your children get away with everything if you parent in grace?” The answer is NO. Operating in grace does not mean that I tolerate injustice. It simply means that I value and love my children (and husband, family, friends…all people, actually) more than I value and love rules. It means that I will not let a person’s behavior keep them from my love and acceptance.
My simple formula to go from Crazy Mom to Grace-filled Mom:
Exhale + Inhale = Grace
1. Exhale (literally) – and release your anger, frustration and all controlling desires with that breath. Empty yourself of SELF.
2. Inhale – and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you up. Let Him inflate your heart with real life.
3. Ride the wave of God’s grace that He just poured into you. Let it flow out on your children. Express to your family (by words, attitudes and actions) that you love them no matter what. Address issues and improper behavior with your children from a Spirit-controlled place of love and acceptance. You can help children see the consequences for their choices and attitudes without berating or punishing them. Discipline trains; punishment controls.
Once you start drawing from the well of grace, you won’t want to go back to your old polluted pond of self anymore. And, I guarantee, your family will like being with you a WHOLE lot more!
So, today, I raise my Paleo iced coffee to grace. Here’s to more grace in our lives as moms…as wives…as the Church. Here’s to healed relationships, deeper bonds with your children and freedom to live with a full heart!
What would your home be like if you lived from a place of grace?