Of course, our class may be almost done but our parenting is far from over. And, with some of the freedoms that summer brings, I know how easy it is for my own heart to seek freedom from the discipline and consistency of parenting my kids faithfully to the glory of God. It sounds so simple to write out...parenting my kids faithfully to the glory of God...and, yet, putting it into practice requires more than I can give...and that is what must keep me dependent on Jesus. If I could do it on my own, I need only myself!
I was also reminded in "Parenting" by Paul Tripp that my biggest struggle is not with my kids and their attitudes, forgetfulness, or even their disobedience. My biggest struggle in parenting is ME.
"When you are frustrated, mad, discouraged, unkind, abusive, bitter, joyless, vengeful, or irritated as a parent, you don't so much need to be rescued from your children - you need to be rescued from you....when you are willing to confess that you're the biggest problem in your parenting, you are on the road to very good things in you and in your work with your kids.
As we seek to parent our children, the heavenly Father is parenting everyone in the room. Like our children, we need to grow and mature. Like our children, we haven't progressed beyond the need for a Father's care. Like our children, we need a parent who will not turn his back on us even though we stumble and fall again and again. God hasn't just sent you to do his work in the lives of your children; he will use the lives of your children to advance his work in you."
In many ways, what an encouragement that can be to our own souls! Parenting starts with us, not our kids. That means that being the best parent I can be to the glory of God has little to do with the heart of my child and much to do with my own heart. So, as I seek the face of God in His Word, commune with Him through prayer, and pursue the fruits of the Spirit with the aid of the Holy Spirit...there will be beautiful changes in my parenting...not because my kids are changing but because my own heart is being conformed to the image of Jesus! What hope!
I love how Paul Tripp closes out what was quoted above. He says, "God's grace welcomes you to learn from your past, to confess your faults, receive forgiveness, lay down your burden of guilt and shame, and with new hope and courage give yourself with joy to what God is calling you to as a parent right here, right now."
May this summer find us faithful parents...because we, ourselves, are being faithfully parented!
* My sister gave me Parenting this spring...and both Bryan and I were "hooked" by the intro alone. Even if you just buy the book for the introduction, it's money well spent! :)