His Power in Our Weakness
Parenting can bring out the best and worst in us. As Christians, parenting is one of the most challenging, humbling, and sanctifying experiences we can have. There is no better combatant to self-righteousness than seeing our own sin reflected in our children. Watching them repeat words or behavior that they heard mommy or daddy say is a major ouch to our ego!
Speaking of the worst, have you ever had those moments as a parent, after losing control towards your child in anger you look back on your reaction and kick yourself for your response? Perhaps you had a wonderful morning quiet time in prayer and reading of God’s Word, only to find yourself 30 minutes later yelling at your children to put their socks on! You are fifteen minutes late, and in the moment, it feels as though the world is falling apart.
Thankfully, we have God’s grace over every moment in our lives. One of my favorite songs contains this plea, “Above and below me, before and behind me, in every eye that sees me, Christ be all around me.” As a former missionary, these lyrics spoke deeply to my heart about living for Christ in a world of unbelievers. As a parent, I now have unbelievers under my own roof! As a Christian parent, you also have the gift of the Holy Spirit. You have Christ all around you. What better way to model this truth for our kids than by showing the weakness in our flesh when we ask for forgiveness for our parenting fails.
I’ll give you an example of what I mean. I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face. We had spent the morning praising God through song, but that was forgotten in the stress of getting everyone out the door and to the car. The stress took over my body and I yelled at my child (which admittedly, has happened more times than I can count). After things had calmed a bit and I was convicted by my reaction, I pulled him aside and apologized. “Dalton, mom is a sinner. I am not perfect and I make many, many mistakes every day. That is why I need God’s grace and forgiveness every moment in my life, and I am so grateful that He has given that to me through Jesus. I am sorry that I yelled when I was feeling stressed. I know that is not the right way to lead you as your mom, and with God’s help, I will try to do better. Will you forgive me?”
I will never forget the tears that filled his eyes when I made my confession to him and asked for his forgiveness. His response was an automatic “Yes!” with the biggest hug. It also spurred in him an (unprompted) moment of repentance and asking forgiveness from me for his part in the chaos. Friends, if we ever hope for our kids to rely on the grace of Christ, we have to first authentically model it for them. This step is crucial to having your child see you as an approachable and vulnerable Christ-follower, dependent upon His grace. Since this moment, going to my kids and my spouse for forgiveness is something that has become a regular rhythm in our household, and I have seen God move through these moments of transparency, forgiveness, and grace.
Spoiler alert: If God has called you to parent, you will not be able to do that perfectly. But our God is big enough to redeem all things, even our failures. Use these moments to point your kids to Christ by modeling how he draws us to repentance and sanctifies us to look more like Him. Know also as you strive to look more like Christ in the struggles of your everyday life, that you will have moments of failure. But when you fail, there is grace. Allow the Lord to work through you in your moments of weakness. To Paul, Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (1 Corinthians 12:9). Paul boasted in his weakness so that the power of Christ would rest upon him. He used his weakness to point others to Christ!
Show your kids that you are weak, but God is strong! Give them grace over and over, and let them see God’s grace in your life. Model for them a heart of repentance, and be willing to grant them the same forgiveness and grace that Christ has given you. Making this transparency of spirit a rhythm of your household will pave the way for a deeper, more personal relationship with the Lord and with each other that can have a lasting impact on the faith of your child.