thatmom

real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

being a mom who is willing to change ~ grace in parenting part six

changing-tree

I once worked with a woman who made many decisions that ended up costing the organization either loss of credibility or finances. Repeatedly she would invest her time or resources into products or services that ended up being much less than she hoped for.  But rather than admit that she had messed up and seeking to correct the problem, her usual response was to try to justify her choices by trying to make them work for her.  Her actions frustrated everyone, including herself, and eventually, after losing many employees, she moved on as well, though I doubt she ever understood the root of her problem.

We have all been there.  We have purchased the car that turned out to be a gas-guzzling lemon but “insist” it is the perfect car for us.  We buy cute shoes that never fit properly and don’t match a thing in the closet and never will because they are yellow, but we don’t get rid of them, insisting we will find the perfect dress one day. As homeschoolers, we have subscribed to homeschooling materials that just didn’t work for our own children or have joined groups that didn’t meet our goals for a particular child, the result being that we either continued on so as not to feel like we had invested wrongly or we count our loses and move on.

When it comes to relating to people, though, this approach does not work.  We can buy a new car, give shoes to Goodwill, and sell homeschooling materials on half.com but with human beings we are bound to correct the problems. Only by God’s grace can we do this by repenting of our behaviors, seeking forgiveness for our actions, and addressing the pride issues that keep us going in the wrong direction.

Researcher George Barna’s study on teenagers reveals many truths that moms need to understand.  In interviewing young people from assorted backgrounds, he found that 75% of them felt that they were very close to their mothers and that as many gave her an “A” in parenting.  In fact, less than 6% gave mom a “C” or lower on the mom final!  However, the high grades do not reflect everything about their relationships and over 30% of them thought there were things they would like to have changed but didn’t entertain the idea of doing so because they didn’t ever see their moms changing!

Ouch!

In pondering why this is, especially when it comes to Christian homeschooling moms, I think we have besetting sins that drive our attitudes and that keep us from change. Sometimes those sins are part of the baggage we brought into our homeschooling journey.  Sometimes they come about through the lack of discernment when it comes to approaching the Word of God.

Usually conviction comes to us through experiencing the consequences of the emotional, physical, or spiritual damages our words or actions are inflicting on those we love.  If we are in the 70% of those moms who are willing to change and honestly look at the choices we make in raising our children, we have taken the first step of receiving God’s grace in parenting.  If we are in the other 30%, we must recognize that anything that falls short of practicing the one anothers of Scripture quickly becomes idolatry and that we forfeit the grace from God we could have.  “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:8)

2 Timothy 3:16 assures us that not only is the Word of God able to show us all we need for life and godliness, but it tells us the steps to take to accomplish it.

1.)    We must understand sound doctrine, the pure Word of God, allowing Scripture alone to interpret itself. “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  1 Timothy 4:15-16

2.)    We must submit to its authority and agree with it when it tells us what sin looks like.  At this point we place ourselves at the foot of the Cross, considering Jesus’ words “As you have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40

3.)    We purpose to correct our sin, seeking forgiveness where we have sinned against our children, repenting to both God and them. “If we confess our sins He is able to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

4.)    We understand that we sin because we are great sinners and need the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives daily, so we read His word and maintain a clear conscience toward God and others, so as not to shipwreck our faith. “You may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith.”  1 Timothy 1:18-19

“Lord, change is difficult, no impossible, apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.  Convict us today of our mothering sins and give us the grace to change, for Your glory alone.  Amen.”

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