Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mothers, Give Each Other Grace

Dear Mothers,


“Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”-Matthew 7:1-2

I have found this verse has come true in my life.

How many times have I judged parents by their child’s behavior? Truthfully, more than I can count. I have self-righteously torn others down in order to build myself up. Maybe not out loud, but in my own mind. God knows that my motives have not always been pure.

Recently, a mother who did not know me very well, grossly misjudged me as a parent. She concluded I didn’t discipline my children because of some bad behavior that she saw from one of my children. She chose to cut off any relationship with our family. I cannot tell you the pain my children and I experienced through this severing. I examined my parenting, critiquing myself from all angles. Believe me, I am my worst critic. I struggled against feelings of hopelessness and defeat. I came to the conclusion that I cannot control every situation and every action my child takes. I try giving them privileges. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t and trust is broken, I pull back on the reins and try to discipline with love and wisdom.

I did not choose to have a strong-willed child. God chose me. He has entrusted me with a special gift. I can be downright humiliated sometimes by my child’s lack of self-control in public, especially when he doesn’t get his way. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t disciplined for it. People who take the time to get to know me, truly know that my heart is to raise godly offspring.

I keep asking myself, “Where’s the grace?”. Now, when I see a mother struggling with the behavior of her child, instead of condemning her and judging her mothering, I’m going to assume that she is doing everything she can. I’m going to first pray for her, and then I’m going to do something about it. I can choose to come alongside her, loving and encouraging her to stay strong. Perhaps I could even take the child off of her hands for a few hours to give her an emotional break.

Through this experience, I realized I had just a taste of what it was like for Jesus to be misjudged. Only Jesus was insulted, spat upon, and betrayed by his own countrymen. The same people who welcomed him into Jerusalem at the beginning of the week, were the same people who shouted, “Crucify him!”, by Friday.

We, women can be just as fickle. Instead of “crucifying” those around us, let us love them enough to spend time with them and truly see how they interact with their children. After you have built a relationship with her and you see a real problem, especially where sin is involved (rage, verbal abuse, sarcasm, permissiveness, ect), then you might have an opportunity to lovingly exhort her IF she asks for your advice. Be careful though, check your motives! Remember what goes around comes around.

I think most of the Christian mothers out there are doing the best they can do. We are all muddling through this thing called parenting. We are all wanting to raise our children to be responsible, God-fearing adults. We’re going to make some mistakes. And yes, we are going to be misjudged.

No matter how much you pour yourself into your children, teaching them the principles of the Bible, they can still exercise their freewill and walk away from it all. It boils down to the choices THEY make. If we have given them that Biblical foundation, they will know the way home. I am reminded of the Prodigal Son. What a perfect image of God’s grace.

Let us extend that kind of grace to each other. Don’t just write them off if you see a problem. Endure with them patiently. They may desperately need the encouragement you have to offer.

“And we urge you, brothers (sisters), warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

From One Mom to Another,

14 comments:

Rachel and Family said...

Amen!Amen! We can hardly even take all the credit for a "well behaved" child too, God is the one that gave them an obedient disposition. Mothers love their children like crazy and I truly believe that everyone parents the best they know how. If only we could all be like Mary and raise a Jesus right?

Great post! You are loved Stacie. And we love each of your children for their glorious personalities too. You scored 6 times!

Vanyah said...

OH THANK YOU!!!! This is oh so true, I try so hard just to pray for that child and thier parents bc I know too well how it is to work so hard and still be torn down by a child so BULL HEADED!
Enjoyed reading, we all NEED to PRAY for each other, we do our best those that care to be a mother. ;~) God Bless

Robin said...

It always amazes me when people are surprised to find children acting like CHILDREN.

We're raising them to be well-mannered responsible ADULTS but need to give them a little slack where it comes to actually still being children.

Robin said...

I had a good friend who was always quick to dish out parenting advice (with a healthy dose of scorn on the side)...then her 5th was born. She spent the next few years apologizing for being so insufferably arrogant.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

LOL!!! That is great, Robin! I think most of us are guilty to one degree or another.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

This is one of my favorite devotions ever! I'm sure this will ring true with every mom out there who has been judged. Knocked it out of the ballpark, Sis! Thank you, Holy Spirit!

Kristin Bridgman said...

May I please say THANK YOU too?! I have been misjudged also and it is painful. For 18 years, my husband and I raised our children in a loving, godly home doing all the things we thought was best and right, using God's Word as guide along with prayer. Then one of our sons walked out the door. We suddenly had a prodigal. That was painful enough without people judging us, not even knowing us, but because of his actions, we must have been bad parents. THAT is painful too. But thank the Lord, he heals that pain and sends angels along who understand, such as yourself, that free will reins, and we cannot stop it. The Lord helps us move on and gives us even more compassion for those hurting.
Thank you so much for this post!
Blessing to you:)

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Kristin, I can't imagine how painful that would be. I also konw the parents of a prodigal whose son went to jail for several years. They were misjudged as well. They did their best and he made his own choices. You are not alone!

Sarah said...

Great post Stacie!

Lady Rose said...

Stacie,

This was a great post! Even though I am not a Mother in this season of my life, I gleaned much knowledge from your words.

It's so easy for us to judge others for their faults, when little do we realize that we have faults an imperfections of our own. As Christian women, it should always be our duty to build each other up and not tear each other down.

Blessings,

-L. Rose

Jill said...

Truly wonderful post! Thank you!

blessings,
Jill

Kimberly said...

Our children are NOW very well behaved in private and public.... Notice the word NOW. It took many minutes of diligence on our parts when the children where young to get them to where they are now. When my children were young, in particular my boys, I thought we'd never be able to go out without an issue arrising... Praise the Lord! It was worth every painful moment, and ugly glance from others the reward is sweet! Hang in there, as you know God does work at different speeds in each child.

On a side note, I added to the FB post about deactivating an account.

Kelly @ In Everything said...

This is such a great post!! I am guilty of judging that other mother and I've been that "other" mother, too, many times!! I love that you encouraged us to pray for other mothers who have that challenging child and offer to help (not with just parenting advice but encouragement)!!

And I read through the comments you've already received!! I love RObin's comments;) I thought of parenting TOTALLY different when my 2nd child came around.... I was humbled... LOL.. and still continue to be!

I'm a new follower so I can be encouraged some more;) Thanks!

Amber said...

Aww! I can't believe someone actually judged you like that - that's crazy. I have a secret.. As both a teacher and parent, I actually like the "willful" children best. They are so full of life and vim and vigor. They make life interesting and exciting. I think they are exactly how children are supposed to be, but the world is so ready to break these kids spirits (sit down, be quiet, do this, do that).

When do we let kids be kids? At school -no, running errands - no, structured activities (classes, sports etc) -no. So is it any wonder they act out?

I too have a willful child, and already at 2 years old, I began to see sign of people trying to break her spirit. I began to second guess my own parenting - until I talked to my mom. She said, "Amber, Auburn is just like you. I was told countless times to medicate you, or punish you, or that I was raising a spoiled brat. I knew in my heart you weren't and that your energy is what made you special. So I told them all to go take a bleepin' flying leap." (My mom isn't exactly PC) :)

So thats what I think. Do your best and tell the nay sayers to take a flying leap.

BTW- though i'm sure you already know as an experienced parent- my best behavior control is to include her ABSOLUTELY everything I do even if you have to make it up. Soooooo hard to do, but the improvement I've seen has been huge :). I do it in my classroom too.

Much love!
Amber

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