If Not For Grace {Where Will They Be?}

There’s a fear as a parent that kind of sneaks up on you. I really don’t think it is there when you say I do. It may cross your mind when you see the (+) sign on the pregnancy stick. It may creep up here or there as you contemplate your little one’s future but as a wise friend shared with me recently, it definitely doesn’t consume your thoughts as you rock your sweet baby to sleep.

But over time it does come. For me, the fear has begun to surface now at the tender parenting age of 4. I’ve been doing this mom thing for 4 years now. Wow. Seems longer in some ways and in others so brief. I sure do know less than I thought I did four years ago.

As my eldest begins to grow in his understanding of good choices and bad choices, as he experiments with using kind words and mean words, as his will becomes iron clad {read: extremely strong and stubborn}, and as his thoughts become more articulate and his memory more photographic, it is now that the fear can overtake me.

Not always, of course but it is there all the same. The fear that I will fail in raising my children in a way that leads to them living their lives fully surrendered to Christ. It’s funny…ironic. I’m not worried about them failing in other areas.

Fall off your bike? No big deal! Dust the knees off and let’s get back on!

Make a C in Algebra? No worries! Let’s tackle this Math giant together.

Didn’t make the basketball team? That’s okay. Let’s practice this summer together and give it another try next season.

Make a decision that contradicts everything that Mom and Dad have tried to teach you about living for Christ? Utter. Fear.

Make a bad choice. No. I mean a really really REALLY bad choice…and I’ve failed as a parent.

Question your faith? Well, that’s okay….I want you to truly own your faith. But please don’t do something so terribly bad that it alters your future.

Deep breath.

Dom is only 4. Charlotte is sassy but that comes with 2 right? And Devin…his greatest transgression is going through 5 diapers in less than a half hour.

In time, however, all three will fail. Make the wrong choice. It could be as seemingly insignificant as coloring on the walls with crayons or as drastic as a rebellious stint around town painting graffiti on walls {do people still do that?}

How will I respond when these and the in-between mistakes happen?

We teach our children to love one another. Be kind to one another. To share. To forgive. To ask others for forgiveness.

Am I doing the same? Am I extending grace?

Or am I that example that says in a pharisaical way that only certain sins are forgive-able? Do my actions illustrate the lie that there are levels of transgressions?

OR do I show that GRACE is GRACE is GRACE!

Sure. There are natural consequences to each choice we make. There are results we must live with because of those decisions. Good and bad.

In the midst of every decision, do my children know that I love them without conditions. That more importantly their heavenly Father loves them without prerequisite. Do my children understand that although my actions and responses to their choices may be flawed that the love of God is without blemish…that it is UNconditional….pouring out…OVERFLOWING in buckets of grace.

How do I teach my children to make the best choices? How do I give them permission to fail when I am honestly so terrified to see them fail? When I fear the height from which they may descend before they learn to soar?

And then the verses come:

“…And while we were still sinners Christ died for us”. {Romans 5:8}

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” { Ephesians 2:8}

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. {Hebrews 4:16}

In that moment, I am reminded that my husband and I have been blessed with three beautiful children who are on loan as the saying goes. We feed them, clothe them, sing and dance with them when they are young. We read with them, talk with them about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The SAVIOR who died to pay the insurmountable debt of sin.

So..in this scary world of conflicting statments and questions like:

“What is truth?”

“Doesn’t matter what you believe. You do your thing and I’ll do mine. It’s all good.”

“What does the Bible really say about A,B, and C?”

“That’s okay for you but I’m making my own path.”

In the midst of all that, I can love like Jesus, teach my children to do the same, love his word, teach his word, extend grace, receive grace, pray, pray, PRAY and watch the Holy Spirit stir their hearts and lead them on their own journey with Christ.

Will there be scabbed knees, literally and spiritually, along the way? You betcha! But I have to trust that the God who pursued my heart, who continues to call to me and remind me of His unfailing love for me, is calling out to my children as well. I have to believe that his grace is deeper, wider, and of greater substance than anything I can muster up on my own. He loves me faults and all.

He loves me just like:

Judas who betrayed him

Peter who denied him

Paul who persecuted him

His grace never ran out on them…it hasn’t run out on me.  And it won’t run out on my children.

They have amazing futures ahead of them. They will make lots and lots of mistakes along the way.

But that is okay because….GRACE.

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Patty Parker

My name is Patty Parker. I write about finding beauty in the every day.

3 thoughts on “If Not For Grace {Where Will They Be?}

  1. Love it Patty. You so eloquently put how much we want our kids to know Christ and how that choice must be in theirs alone.

    Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

  2. Great insights into a fear that we all face. My wife and I are raising three daughters and there are additional fears that I face as a father. But absolutely above all I want them to know the Lord and serve Him. Thank you for putting this into words. Thank you for the encouraging words that God’s grace is sufficient.

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