Wow! What an amazing couple of chapters. GRACE... what a hard concept for me to grasp. What a hard concept for me to put into practice. The Lord certainly knew where to hit me with this book. Grace...
I'm not sure where to start so let's just get going.
What stood out to you? What did you get from the reading?
After Clarkson shares her narrative of Peter, she hits us with the idea that before teaching, Jesus started with a relationship, "the grace of his fellowship, his love, his instruction" (pg 27). She makes the point that "we must always remember that our children, like Peter, will never be perfect" (pg 28). This thought lately has been continually hammered home at me: allowing people (especially my children) the space to be human, the space to make mistakes. Modeling grace, as a mother, is so imperative for our children to UNDERSTAND grace. Our modeling allows them to know that God's grace will be ever present and in turn enables them to extend that same grace to others.
Still we are human. Our ability to extend grace to our kids is dependent upon our own relationship with Christ. And by being human, we too have to receive grace. It's cyclical.
*Read Romans 2:4. According to this verse, what leads us to repent? How specifically does God want you to extend his grace to your children so that his kindness, through you, will lead them to repentance?
Kindness, forbearance, patience... all lead us to repentance in Christ. How often is kindness missing in my own discipline? How often do I instead rush to frustration? All too often. It's amazing to me that I can see the difference and still chose what doesn't work. Again this reminds me of how I'm so incapable of extending grace without daily being plugged in with the Lord. Grace is not something that comes natural, but rather supernatural.
Practically, beyond spending time with God, so much of extending grace to my kids must come from sacrificing my sense of "authority" and allowing them the space to be human. Divorcing my emotion from the situation immediately defuses it and takes about its power.
It's 10:20 pm and I've been squarely hit across the head with these words:
"I realized that my dreams are not necessarily what really motivate my children to become the best they can be. What matters to them is my loving presence... If I want them to be open to my messages, I need to be willing to serve them..." (pg 33)
So true. I can talk and talk and talk until I'm blue in the face. I can remind and nag and bargain and plead, but how often do I lay aside my own agenda and just be with the kids? I've been reminded of that over the past couple of months. Leaving the laundry in favor of a puzzle. Putting off the workout in favor of ANOTHER book. Sometimes impossible, but too often excused.
As Clarkson reminds us, these small moments are what build the relationship, what puts our children in a place to be discipled. Without this foundation, our words are meaningless.
I love this line--"Passing on the gift of grace requires a commitment- and yes, a sacrifice- of time, love and heart service" (pg 37). Grace is a sacrifice of time. It requires patience and working things out. It requires understanding and a listening heart, rather than jumping to the easy solution.
*Read Mark 14:66-72 and then 1 Peter 4:8. Knowing that Christ gave Peter grace after he failed so miserably, how would he have you extend this kind of grace to your own children? What would this look like in your daily interactions?
This example of Peter reminds me again how motivated we can be by fear. Fear has made me do some crazy things, as it did to Peter. As it does to our own children when we don't build a relationship on love, trust, and sacrifice. Often I find myself praying that God would remind me that my children are young; they are learning. Messes are made out of curiosity. Time blocks are done out of innocence. And what can seem to insignificant to me, may mean the world to one of my kids.
How are you being challenged by this book? How is the Lord teaching you in your reading?