Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Give Them Grace

I finally finished reading Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick &Jessica Thompson.  It was incredible.  I will probably go back and read it again.  It was sometimes impossible to read more than a couple paragraphs at a time, because I would just have to stop and re-read, then savor what I had read.  I wanted to share with you just a taste.

My children are beautiful, precious gifts from God.  I wish I were a better parent.  They need grace and more of it.  I need grace, too.

Do you have high moments where you feel like you have things {at least somewhat} together?  When "everything's going your way"?  The kids are behaving, the house is clean, your to-do list is checked off?

I don't even have to ask, I KNOW you have low moments.  I have those.  Sometimes life stretches on and on into one long low moment where I can't seem to get anything together or accomplish anything on my list.

Recently I've been wrestling through a low moment.  Unlike other times where I feel like I would be happy if some circumstance would just change, during this time of my life I'm looking deep within and hoping for a change to happen there.  These words were a fantastic reminder to me:

   "Paul understood that personal success and strength were barriers to his experience of God's grace.  God's sustaining power is seen and developed in our weakness and failure.  It is never developed anywhere else.  The power of Christ flows through parents who boast in and embrace their personal weakness, not on those who think they don't need it.  Of course, every one of us will quickly confess that we know we need the power of Christ.  Yes, yes, of course we do.  But the veracity of our confident confession will be tested in our response to our weakness and failure and to the weakness, failure, and sin of our children.  Do we see these trials as God's gift to us?  Do we see our children's struggles as our Savior approaching us in love to make his grace strong in our lives?  Do we believe that we must have this kind of humiliation so that Christ's grace will flow through us to our family?  Do we want his grace that much?  Do we really want to glorify him?
   Whether or not we like it, whether or not we understand it, it is kind of the Lord to demolish our confidence in our own strength, abilities, and  cherished methods.  True, it doesn't feel kind at the time.  It's terribly painful to watch your beloved son turn from the faith or to hear that your daughter has been disruptive in Sunday school again.  It crushes our hearts when we try and try to explain the gospel to our little ones and they stare back at us in boredom and resentment.  Yet, it is a kindness when he strips us of self-reliance, because it is there, in our emptiness and brokenness, that we experience the privilege of his sustaining grace.  It is only when we arrive at that dreaded place of weakness that we discover the surpassing power of Christ.  It is only when we are finally freed from those oh-so-constricting straightjackets of self-righteousness that we are able to experience the true comfort and warmth of the robes of his righteousness." (p. 151-152)

Would you like to hear from Elyse Fitzpatrick yourself??  I listened to this long before I read the book...I thought I had the gist of it, but then Pastor Matthew recommended the book.  This interview only scratches the surface, but it's a fun place to start.  
Elyse Fitzpatrick on the Gospel and Parenting

There is a song that is pretty popular around our house these days.  I think the lyrics really hit dead on.  The name of the song is You Are More and the band is Tenth Avenue North.  The chorus goes:
"You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade."

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