Thursday, April 10, 2014

God's Grace Raised Our Children

When I compliment friends on what a great job they did raising their children, many times they will respond, "But for the grace of God!" I fully agree that all that we as Christians have in life that turns out great comes from His grace in leading, guiding, directing and outright miracles in our lives. But where was God's grace for couples who raised children who grow up to live in rebellion to God? How does our responsibility work with God's grace?

God's grace... 
Gave us the joy of parenting as we loved, care for, and enjoyed our children.
Taught His values more than training behaviors.
Taught self-discipline through prompt obedience. 
Gave us the wisdom to spend hours teaching right thinking.
Was with a mom who, though very sick, drove her kids to Awana weekly.
Got the family to church each Sunday and made Jesus look sweet!
Gave us the strength to home school through Junior High.
Was in a hard working dad who provided the resources to put our 
children into a terrific Christian high school.
Protected them by sending them to a fabulous Bible University.

Yes, everything we accomplish for God's glory is by His grace as He works mightily within us while passing on His grace, His truth and His love to our children.

We do not know exactly how it all works; How God's grace intersects human agency and Christian responsibility to accomplish His will. Do not think for an instant that if God demands that we train our children in the way they should go and we fail our mission that God's grace covers all.  Nor should we believe that we can be perfect Christian parents and never risk a child exercising free will to walk away from the Truth they were clearly taught.

What we do know is that we decided early in our marriage that we would take parenting very seriously. We wanted to honor God with our time, talents, and love by investing in the precious gifts He would entrust to our care. We desired to be able to present to Him four godly children, not one lost to the world. It was all God’s grace working through our faith and obedience, and in spite of our weaknesses, to grant us our prayer’s desires. 

Were we perfect parents? No, but we always tried to be loving, kind, generous and consistent. I am sure our kids sit around at times and talk about our imperfections with our experiment of parenting and I hope they can improve with their kids. But we also love the thank yous they give us, at times, showing appreciation for the grace of God that flowed through us towards them by our obedience.

Raising children should be serious business for Christians. We are called by God to “train up a child in the way they should go” and God gives every Christian parent the grace to accomplish this important task. If you teach them boundaries while they are very young, when they are teenagers, they will gladly live within those protected boundaries. We always had a good relationship with our children and talked to them about everything. We wanted them to learn from us God’s ideals, not from those outside of our family of faith.

Yes, it is exhausting, especially when they were little, but trust me when I say that God’s grace will get you through it all. Be faithful and when they grow up to walk with Jesus, every moment spent loving and training them will be so worth it. As you begin to choose to obey God and step out in faith, He fills you with His grace to accomplish His will.

God's grace gives us all we need for life and godliness and then demands that we walk in obedience to His will and His ways. When we willfully disobey Him, He chastens us, just as He expects us to do with our children. If the God of the universe lives inside of us, such grace and love compels us to work diligently to prepare godly offspring filled with God’s grace who walk in newness of life and will spend eternity in heaven with us. 
All by God’s grace alone and all to His glory!

You shall teach them diligently to your children, 
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, 
and when you walk by the way, 
and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:7

***We are no longer called sinners, but saints. God has clothed us with His righteousness and taken us out of the kingdom of darkness so that we might be a light to others.