We struggled raising our children. Really struggled. Parenting is difficult. Children can be difficult. Keeping your sanity can be difficult. But if we desire the things of God, we seek Him in the midst of the difficulty, and He mercifully changes us.
I think that both of my children would tell you that I am no longer the same mother they had 10 or 15 years ago. I hope that I am no longer the same mother they had last year. But just like you, I am a work in progress.
On one of my difficult child rearing days, God laid on my heart that our home needed to be a place of sanctuary from the world. A haven of rest and mercy. A place where do-overs were allowed. Not a war zone.
We had too much discord in our relationships. Too much fighting, arguing, yelling, anger. We needed a healthy dose of Jesus. I knew that it fell to me to make these changes happen. And I knew that I couldn’t do it in my own strength.
Each person in your home is responsible for their own feelings, behaviors and choices. As a mother, I was responsible for how I was training up my children in God’s ways. Certainly, what we had was NOT God glorifying. So I sought out Godly counsel. I pressed hard into Jesus. Cried through many prayers, and allowed God to change not only my heart but my eyes as well.
“Take a good look at what you are doing.” He said to me one day. “Is this the kind of mother that reflects Jesus to your children?”
Ouch….humility comes with motherhood.
So over the years (and sorry this isn’t a quick fix) God has taught me how to make our home a house of peace, of gratitude, of acceptance, forgiveness, of serving one another, healthy boundaries and joy. Part of this change came simply because we all were growing in Jesus, but a large part came about due to the work of God through me and how I approached my relationships with my husband and my children.
Here are some issues that we addressed and changed for God’s glory.
- Appropriate rules of behavior must be based on God’s word.
- Our home will not be a war zone but will be a haven, a sanctuary, a place of love and forgiveness.
- We can have disagreements without harming others and yelling. We offer grace and mercy seasoned with accountability. Repent and sin no more.
- Mom and Dad are always the final authority here. This comes with a hefty responsibility to not be lazy in our parenting – especially in the teen years.
- Parenting changes as your children grow. Influence rather than command/demand becomes the norm.
- Healthy boundaries must be held in place. Ask God and godly counsel to help you with this.
- This is our home. You are valued here. Each person in our home has a responsibility to all the others not for all the others. Your sins affect everyone else. You are expected to carry your own load.
- Consequences come with our choices. It is not mom and dad’s role to remove them but to love you through them.
- My goal as a mother is to raise up my children to be God loving adults who serve Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Am I pointing them to Jesus or am I trying to be Jesus for them?
- My tone and attitude are contagious. I need Jesus to fill my heart and change my mind. I need Jesus to remove my selfishness and pride. I must walk humbly if I expect my children to do so.
We are still a work in progress. And now there is a third generation watching how we live.
I pray that you will allow Jesus into your home. I pray that your home is a safe place for children to be themselves, to make mistakes and be forgiven, to heal the wounds that this broken world inflicts on them, to learn how to love and serve God who is sovereign over all. Be a house of grace. Love one another well. Life is short. God is love. Be encouraged. Today is a new day. Press on!
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV)