Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles

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Let's face it, parenting is one of the hardest things we will do in this lifetime. If you are a parent you just said AMEN! Every year I try to read a couple of parenting books to help me become a better parent and to help me be a better children's pastor. What I love about Paul David Tripp's book that is different from all the other parenting books you will read is he constantly makes you face the reality that you are not in control of the heart change that your kids need. If we are being honest, a lot of times when we are reading parenting books it is because we see a deficiency in our children that we want to fix. We turn to parenting books for easy how to's and try and fix our children's behavior. The reality we have to face though is that we cannot produce a changed heart only God can. We can manipulate behavior modification in the lives of our kids through different tactics, but the reality is they will not be long lasting. The reality that all of us as parents must face is that our kid's are born sinners in need of a savior just like us. Every misbehavior flows out of that sin nature and the only cure is a changed heart through faith in Christ. It is not something we can force, manipulate or control. We need to pray and ask for God's grace to transform our kids hearts and ask that he would help us be ambassadors of His grace. This book has challenged me to parent from a place of grace rather than reactionary to the misbehaviors in the moment. It has challenged me to see the misbehaviors and the moments that my kid throws fits as opportunities to show God's grace and to explain that it is out of a response of the grace that God has shown us. It has challenged me to see that my kid is not my possession that I own but she is God's and I am called to steward the gift of her life and the gift of being her parent being an ambassador of God's grace to show her God's grace in her life. This has been one of the best parenting books I have read and I encourage anyone who is a parent to pick it up and read it asking for God's grace to help you. Our roles as parents in not to be the perfect parent, but to point them to the perfect Savior and pray and pray and pray that He would move on their hearts and draw them to Himself. Lord, we need your grace!

Here are some quotes to reflect on:

”If your eyes ever see and your ears ever hear the sin, weakness, and failure of your children, it is never a hassle, never an interruption, never an accident; it is always grace. God loves your children and has put them in a family of faith, and he will reveal the need of their hearts to you so that you can be his tool of rescue and transformation. It is important to see these moments as opportunities of grace and resist turning a moment of ministry into a moment of anger.”

“Parenting is hard; it will expose your weaknesses and it will challenge your faith. There are times when you won’t feel very good about what you just did or said. There will be days when your work with your children will seem more futile than helpful. But the good news of the gospel is that you don’t have to hide your struggle. You don’t have to act as if you’re doing better than you are. No, you are welcomed by grace to cry out for help, you run to God in your need, and you are assured that not only will you not be turned away, but your heavenly Father will pay careful attention to your cries. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Ps. 34: 18).”