Oh. My. Goodness. If this chapter did not speak to my heart, nothing would.
An out-of-the-box child. Yes, Ma’am. I have one or two or six.
Here is the heart-stopping paragraph from the book:
“I love the idea of formulas: the idea that somebody can give me an answer that I can implement to whatever life issue I’m facing and thenm life will go along how I want it to. With Caroline, I was told that if I would just do X,Y , and Z, she would be obey. If she wasn’t obeying, it was my fault; I was doing it wrong. Of course I felt like a terrible mother.”
Later in the chapter:
“The only formula I want my children to tuck deep into their hearts is this: God has weaved each of us uniquely, and we are wonderfully made in His image. We have sin-tattered hearts, but Jesus mends them when we lean into Him and trust him with our lives. That’s the formula.”
Yes, Yes, Yes. This is the wisdom I needed to know years ago when well-meaning, loving friends insisted that a particular way of raising our children was God’s way. We tried that method, and for many reasons, hung to some of the good, godly principles, but had to reject many others. Our kids were not perfect, but really, neither were theirs. In fact, truth be told, *I* was not perfect. *I* was not perfectly obedient. *I* did not do perfect, first-time-obedience to God, the father. Thank goodness he did not give up on me. He still does not give up on me.
Now, rather than looking at the formulas- the flawed ones with their huge charts of consequences and actions and cookie-cutter formulas that should resolve any parenting issues, I try to look into my children’s eyes. I try to figure out their little hearts. I whisper silent prayers for wisdom. I try to offer grace first, a gentle hand to guide a fussing boy. A patient waiting for the child to come to the right conclusion. A heart-felt talk and not a screaming match with a teen.
I am not perfect. Not now, and not ever (Until the ultimate homecoming). But I see that those charts, while possibly helpful, they attempt to take the heart of the mother toward her child out of the equation. A formula or chart is so tempting. Then I can blame the chart when a little heart keep rebelling. But it’s not true. Hearts rebel, because- well, that’s what we do. And when they don’t rebel….the chart and the system should not get the credit. That victory belongs to Christ alone. When I do something right that truly helps my child overcome a sin area, it is the work of the Holy Spirit through me, so I cannot boast.
I wish I could copy every single sentence from this chapter and shout it from the rooftops! God has created your family uniquely with it’s own special gift, challenges, personalities and culture.
There is no one right parenting method for every family, or for every child. Blindly following formulas and charts means you are not seeking the face of the Lord on behalf of your children, and, friend, that is a place I never want to be again.
Want to see my earlier posts about this book: