We are finishing up a study that we've worked through with our small group this year, entitled, "Grace Based Parenting". It has been the BEST parenting book I've ever read! (And I've read a lot!)
Dr. Tim Kimmel has such a different perspective when it comes to parenting. I wish I could quote the entire book, but obviously, I can't. But here are some of my favorites:
"Grace based parenting is not a checklist for parenting: it's a lifestyle."
"God left our families in communities [as opposed to holing ourselves up in a 'safe place' away from the world] to serve as porch lights, if you will, for the lost people around us. We are to be the steady glow that helps them find their way out of the darkness. When families are commited to being this light, they are inclined to live more intimately with Christ. They pray more, they study their Bibles more, they care for one another more, they reach out to their neighbors more. Somewhere in all the talk about raising kids, we moved away from this as a priority in our parenting."
"Kids inside homes where nonmoral issues are elevated to a level of big problems don't get to experience the kind of acceptance that makes a heart feel securely loved. Instead, they live with a barrage of nitpicking criticism, receiving put-downs because they are curious, anxious, excited, helpless, carefree, or absent-minded."
"As our children grow and mature in their relationship with Christ, things they need to adjust will happen far more easily when they are prompted by God's Spirit rather than coerced by their parents."
"As adults, we know that those who follow the well-worn path to the base of the cross find ample room for heavy hearts and hurts that can't seem to heal. It's an amazing grace that doesn't trivialize the fickle nature of our personalities. There's no condescension waiting to counter our tendencies to become easily embarrassed. There are not lectures longing to straighten out the folly of our thinking. There's no mocking of our self-conscious thoughts--just a generous Savior with a gentle heart who knows how unsure we often are about ourselves."
I could keep going. It is so good. We are far from perfect parents. But this book has been so helpful in beginning to take the "fear" out of parenting. Allowing me grace as I allow my children more grace. Realizing that it is not up to me to convict my children of sin. Reminding me that I can pray for them, and trust in MY heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally and always gives me more grace.
If you're finding discouragement in parenting....I'd highly recommend this book. It points to an incredibly merciful God who LOVES us, KNOWS us, and continues to PURSUE us for His glory.
A visit to the Estuarium on Dauphin Island
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