“Only The Love of God can keep us free.” This TRUTH is my bedrock. Freedom in God is how I parent and grandparent my own little family – there is no better example of Father or Mother than Father God.
As I write this blog I’m blessed to be able to help raise the four tiny humans I get to call my grandchildren.
Side note to all the Mamas and parents who intentionally STAY AT HOME TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN: It is the highest calling to be a humble servant and to fully believe that God Himself has placed you into this position of leadership! Don’t let anyone or anything lead you to the deceptive lie that parenting is a chore or a drag or that spending time caring for your children is of any less value than being the leader of a great nation! If you are a parent you are an influencer by default. You are shaping the minds of the future generations- you’re kind of a big deal, do you even realize that? Let me reiterate: God Himself has placed you into the position of leadership if you are a mother or a father, and the enemy of you and your family wants y’all distracted, derailed, defeated and destroyed. Don’t believe the lies. Parenthood is the highest calling of your life.
According to Wikipedia.org there are approximately 7,800,000,000 people who live on this planet together and someone influenced every single living person. Who influenced you? Who do you have the privilege to influence? I have had the privilege to teach and influence and love at least 7 of the 7,800,000,000! I am blessed – and I know it!
Nothing could be more fulfilling than the position of parenthood. My family is now and has always been my first ministry. Only God comes before my family. No habit or hobby, no paycheck or amount of money, no title behind my name and certainly no feigned level of respect from my peers could possibly ever replace or compare to the ministry of motherhood (parenthood). I believe God has always honored this calling by providing everything I need in order to do my job well. He is my Provider and He lacks NOTHING!
If I’m honest there are some days I feel blessed and some days I allow the enemies called overwhelm and bitterness to creep into my thoughts and when I do they quickly get to work trying to steal my JOY and destroy my peace. Some days I even question, “What is my purpose?” Truth be told I have even cracked the lid on anger that my time is not my own and doubt if I am even helping or worse I wonder if my helping raise these grandchildren is enabling their own parents to put other things up on a higher pedestal than their own children some days. That’s dangerous territory. Accusations, anger and playing the blame game is a mistake in any relationship. That anger can come bursting forth like an evil jack-in-the-box startling even the most peaceful Mama, so it is best to destroy and diffuse anger before it can destroy you.
Raising a family is like walking a tightrope where you can get real wobbly with the necessary rules that absolutely need to be taught and the grace that you must give when your children fail. Their failure is a good opportunity for you to back off and slow down to a sloths pace in order to allow the love to kick in. This is where rules and religion can be YOUR WORST ENEMY AS A CHRISTIAN PARENT and they can turn grace upside down and turn it inside out! Yes, rules are NECESSARY and contrary to pop-culture they are NOT made to be broken. But who is going to teach your children that TRUTH? Certainly NOT the world’s culture – that’s counter to God’s culture. God’s rules are made in LOVE – so your rules as a parent should be also. Remember through gratitude we grow, be grateful for your failures and the failures of your children because failures are evidence that they are trying. I try to remember that failure is simply an opportunity to try again in a different way. I do realize that there will be times that blatant rebellion in our children absolutely needs to be course corrected – rebellion has NO PLACE in God’s Kingdom – that was satan’s first and last mistake in the presence of God! God has zero tolerance for rebellion- but He gives His children grace, and so should we.
I am in a unique position to have the time and provision to choose to put the teaching of four of the most beautiful humans before anything else (my grandchildren). Don’t you go thinking for a minute that this choices is an easy one for me because it’s not! I’m not independently wealthy, but I am in fact 100% dependent on God for everything I need. Everything from food in our bellies- to my own peace and joy -to a roof over our heads and the energy to care for my family. My entire family is my ministry in this strange season where schools are closed but the needs of family almost NEVER CLOSE 24/7. My children and grandchildren are vibrant and alive and beautifully needy. Instead of falling into the pit of overwhelm, fear of provision or any of the myriad of other ways to fall off the tight rope I am balanced upon, only the love of God keeps me free to either balance or free fall in HIS LOVE. Trust me when I tell you that at any given moment I could look down and I could freak out about this life I am living -and truth be told I’m not a flawless acrobat walking on this tightrope. Sometimes I freak out, and I fail and I fall and that’s when I get another opportunity to choose LOVE.
I am intentional with my time choosing to put GOD FIRST, even above my family. What does that even look like? Well, first thing before I roll out of bed I think about God. I think about all the ways I am blessed. I rise earlier than the day ahead of me requires in order to either worship God through song or thoughts, read my Bible, Pray and practice the precious presence of GOD. I’m reminded to choose the nourishing fruits of the Holy Spirit often by choosing to remain in LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, GENTLENESS, FAITHFULNESS AND SELF-CONTROL. We are All working on self-control in the presence of our two year old— very strong willed grandson! I can assure you that my life is not a perfectly synchronized ballet of graceful situations. There are poopie diapers, and food fights that break out among the tribe and then there are the days I oversleep, wake up tired with my body physically aching for rest, but I still have to hit the ground running. Time and tides and babies wait for no one.
I have chosen to position myself to learn from some really amazing influencers. I cannot thank Graham Cooke (one of my mentors) enough for reminding me that “learning to be The Beloved when everyone wants a piece of your insides” – is actually a process. I can choose to FIRST learn, THEN experience what I have learned through practice. Just writing this blog reminds me that “practice” implies that I will fail as well as succeed.
For the past several months when I fail I sense it is with increasing grace that I can confess my failures to God as I commune with Him daily. I confess my failures in the presence of trusted influencers such as my own parents, my husband and my pastor and his wife. Confession of my faults and failures reminds me of something similar to my experiences with influencing and teaching my own children – their failure itself and confessing it to me in humble submission shows me that they are aware of the lessons they have learned – and when they confess their mistakes, their confusion or misunderstanding of a rule it gives us BOTH the opportunity to communicate and commune together- I do NOT belittle them or berate them – why should I? God doesn’t berate or belittle me! Religion does that! The enemy does that! God gives grace to the humble but not to the proud. WHAT MAKES ME THINK I HAVE THE RIGHT TO CRITICIZE THE WAY MY CHILDREN ARE LEARNING? AS LONG AS THEY FAIL FORWARD THE LESSONS OF FAILURE ARE WORTH IT, am I right? When my children or grandchildren confess their failures to me it makes me happy that they are trying and that even in their own awareness of right and wrong (according to God’s Word) they have the freedom to choose to do the next right thing. It gives us an opportunity reconnect and the love we share is revived in a million little ways, like ripples in a pond when a rock is thrown into the calm water. I do not have to holler and scream; demand and dictate or try to control them with my authority and fear tactics. That divides their mind from me, it separates us and overwhelms them spoiling the opportunities for me to influence them. Again there is a balancing act to being an influencer. I do not spare the rod, and I will not spoil the child but I will love them faithfully correcting them as needed- teaching them what God’s rules are as it is written in His Word. And with forgiveness and mercy and grace,I will continue to influence them all the days of my life.
Leadership is Love. Is is not abuse of power, it is the humble choosing to be a servant to others. Pretty sure that’s the way God intended the family to thrive and grow in FREEDOM.