Monday, January 26, 2015

My Parenting Method

Since I've become a parent, I've realized more keenly that I'm not an "expert" on anything... 

I'm continually learning as I seek to grow daily in the way in which I "train up" my children in the way that they should go. 

And my heart longs for more of Jesus in my parenting, for more grace, for more direction, for more guidance from the One who promises to shepherd me as I shepherd my babies. 

There are so many "methods." 

So many methods that I stopped really paying attention to them. 

Oh, sometimes I'll read an article here and there--

But I keep coming to the same place...

That it's really about Jesus. 

And I find--

That the more I read His Word--

The more my heart is filled with His Word, 

The methods fade away--and I am filled with His Spirit--leading me, guiding me in my parenting. 

I'm starting to see that my time is better spent learning of Him than listening and struggling and wondering over what every Mabel, May, and Sally has to say. 

What does His Word say to me?

And what can I learn from other godly mothers who take the Lord Jesus very seriously in their everyday lives? 

What wisdom can I glean from them? What wisdom can I glean from other godly mothers who have sought Him in their parenting and striven to bring their children to Jesus' knees?

Something that I'm learning in my parenting--

That there is a balance--a grace-saturated, life-giving balance between unstructured, child-focused parenting and completely rigid, strict-as-nails parenting. 

My children are very strong-willed--I struggle on a daily basis with how to guide them.

Some very wise words have helped me--have guided me in how I raise up my babies--

My mom, quoting advice that she had heard . . .  You must break the will, but not the spirit.

(the will in terms of rebellion, self-will---) 

You must, you must, you must--

Break the will, but not the spirit.

Susannah Wesley said, 

When the will of a child is totally subdued, and it is brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies may be passed by. I insist on the conquering of the will of children betimes, because this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education. When this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by reason and piety.

A shepherd doesn't crush and subdue, a shepherd guides, gently leads--

He watches over, he protects, he loves. 

And sometimes he disciplines. 

My Mom brought us up with very loving discipline--and I thank God for it--

She rarely spanked us (though she would if she needed to)--mainly she guided us--

When we wanted to "go our own way," her first response wouldn't be NO. It was usually, "Well, why don't we try it this way."

And if that didn't work, she didn't reason with us, she didn't yell, she didn't act flustered and frustrated and overwhelmed. 

When we questioned her authority, she simply and sweetly stated, "Because I'm the mother." 

Because I'm the mother . . . 

Because God has given me charge over my children--

Because someday I will have to give an account for how I shepherded my children, whether I raised them up in His ways or allowed them to wander about and to go their own way.

Whether I was harsh for harshness' sake only--whether I disciplined out of love or out of anger.

Whether I taught them right from wrong and used His precious Word as my guide in bringing them up. 

Whether I prayed over my children and sacrificially gave for their best interest, whether I lived the Gospel for them day in and day out. 

I'll never do it perfectly. 

No one is perfect; and that's where His grace comes in. 

But this is something that I'm also learning--and oh, how thankful I am for His grace--

That His grace is not an excuse to slack off, to give less than He is urging me to give--with heart and soul and mind and strength engaged. 

This burning question haunts me--runs through my veins--

Will I pour myself out in raising my children, in bringing them up to love and serve the Lord?

Will I give and give and give and love and discipline and guide and protect and cherish and nurture until I feel like there is nothing left to give?

Because that place is where He fills my lack with grace--His strength comes in and floods my soul and body with His strength, His ability, His power--made perfect in weakness. 

Oswald Chambers says, 

“…having nothing….” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “…and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).

Pouring myself out... lovingly disciplining my children, lovingly guiding my children--

Because they are children! They are not adults; they need guidance! They are hungry for guidance; they crave and desire it. 

So let me guide them--as my Father in Heaven guides me and gives me the wisdom to show them the way they need to go. 

I love my babies. 

Because I love them, I will shepherd them, I will guide them--I will look to Jesus for the wisdom that I need to do it. 

Sometimes I don't know what to do--

But what does His Word say to me?

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NKJV)

And to him who asks, will He not give with abundance?
Shepherding a child, leading, loving, giving--

I need to embrace Jesus, not a particular method for parenting. 

Am I saying that I should never read articles, take any secular advice, heed common wisdom? Absolutely not--

What I am saying is to test everything we hear--everything we read--against the authority and the wisdom of the Word of God. 

Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).

Where it lines up with Scripture, embrace it--being filled with the Spirit and seeking Him continually. 

And where it doesn't, reject it--even if it's a popular method of parenting, even if its "en vogue," even if it "feels right" to embrace it. 

And trust the Word of God. Trust His wisdom. Cling to Him. 

And He will bless you.

My method for parenting is Jesus Christ--learning from Him, listening to Him, trusting Him.

I have never found Him to fail. 

And so I feed the sheep that He has entrusted to me. 

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

(John 21:15-17 NKJV)

You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Yes They Are All Ours, Missional Call, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, So Much at Home, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every SeasonA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, A Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Messy Marriage, My Teacher's Name is Mama, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Mittenstate Sheep and Wool, Imparting Grace, Preparedness Mama, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Count My Blessings, Beauty Observed, Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily, Soul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe HomeAcre HopMommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth Linkup


  1. Wise advice! "A shepherd doesn't crush and subdue, a shepherd guides, gently leads--" so crucial!

    1. Yes, I think it is so important to have that Christ-like balance--I'm grateful that the Lord is teaching me in this area as He is MY Good Shepherd! Blessings to you, Lisa; thank you for visiting.

  2. My parents also talked about breaking the will but not the spirit. Raising children is, I think, the hardest thing I have ever done. It's a fearful thing to hold these precious lives in your hand and care. I'm so thankful for prayer and the Bible. For God's grace to help us in our parenting. Thank you so much for this post.

    1. You're welcome, Jennifer! I know what you mean; if it wasn't for his Word and prayer and the grace of God, I don't know where I'd be . . . I'm glad that you visited; God bless you.

  3. What a lovely image and gentle feel to your blog : )
    And there is much wisdom in your words. I agree that it boils down to Jesus and His Word more than all the "experts" and, as a grandmother, I realize that we all make our mistakes even when we are trying our best, but God is good to teach us and our children even through those mistakes.

    1. Yes, Gail, you are so right!--even through our mistakes He teaches us and draws us nearer to Himself--I'm so thankful for that!

      I'm glad that you visited; the Lord bless you this week.

  4. Parenting is probably the hardest thing I have done in my whole life... To raise a child on loan from God, to love and serve Him! Like you wrote, I am so thankful I am not alone in the huge responsibility. I have his Word and promised wisdom when I ask for it. And I hold on to that with all my heart! Every day.

    Thanks for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays.

    1. Yes, JES! I agree; I never imagined how difficult it would be and then at the same time how reassuring to know that He is with me, guiding me and leading me and giving us His Word as a guide. Thank you so much for your words.

  5. Thank you for sharing. It is a good reminder to me, one that a poor, miserable sinner like myself needs to hear. I'm afraid I fail so often, but having gentle reminders is an encouragement. When there are so many daily tasks, it is important to remember the most important, to be in the Word.

    1. You're welcome, Jody--I know what you mean; I need reminders constantly! What you say is so very true; the most important thing is to be in the Word of God, learning from Him.

      Thank you for visiting; have a blessed week!

  6. You are so right to focus on Jesus and the Word, all other methods always seem to be quickly replaced by something new. Parenting is hard. Remember to keep giving yourself and your precious babies grace, just as God continues to bless us with. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job as a mommy :)!

    1. Thank you, Candace, for that encouragement! The Lord always brings this verse to my mind and it has helped me through so much perplexity--"His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness." Where would we be without grace?!

      I'm glad that you visited; have a blessed week.

  7. I needed to read this today. I have an almost 3 year old. I already knew from years in daycare that 3 is so much harder than 2. But sometimes, because of those years in daycare, I forget to rely on God, not my education. Then I wonder why there are days/weeks I just want to hide in the bathroom with a tub of Vienna Mocha Chunk. Well, duh, I wasn't including God in my parenting.

    (visiting from the Capture Your Journey link-up)

    1. Julie, your comment made me smile! Except, I would be eating donuts or cake!! :-)

      You are so right, though--it makes all the difference when I rely on the Lord in my parenting, and like you said, if we don't, we just wind up defeated and discouraged (as I well know).

      I'm glad that you visited; the Lord bless you.

  8. Replies
    1. I'm glad that they were a blessing, Kathy; thank you for visiting! :-)

  9. A friend and I were just talking the other day how many parenting books there are, but what about just seeking the Lord and His Word. If not a single thing was ever written on Christian parenting, He and His Word would be enough, are enough to guide us. It's so difficult; I fail everyday. How thankful I am that He never does. Wonderful post, Rebekah.

    1. Thank you, Heather--so, so true-that He and His Word are enough--parenting is so difficult, but His grace is sufficient . . . God bless you :-).

  10. This was full of grace and absolutely beautiful!

  11. What a wonderful post and even though my children are all grown I still have grandchildren that are in my care every now and then. Thanks for the sweet reminders. I really enjoyed... Because I'm the mother . . . Because God has given me charge over my children--

    1. You're welcome, Tracy; I'm glad that you visited; have a blessed week. :-)

  12. Thank you for a fresh reminder to ask God for help to parent well. I love the header picture of the dandelion on your blog. I stopped over from the Raising Homemakers link up.

    1. You're welcome Suanna; Thank you for visiting; the Lord bless you-- :-)

  13. Just beautiful! The imagery, the scriptures, your commitment to Jesus...all of it. Thank you! Visiting here from Fellowship Fridays Link-Up. Have a most blessed weekend!

    1. You're welcome; I'm so grateful that you were blessed by it!

  14. Beautiful post! Although my children are now grown, I watch my granddaughters FT while their parents work now :) I am still struck by the truth that we will one day give an account for how we parented & grandparented. May we realize how great a responsibility is ours and rely on Him to fill us with His wisdom & love & gentleness. So grateful to have linked up right after you at Fellowship Friday this morning! Blessings!

    1. Thank you for visiting and for your words!--How true that it is so great a responsibility and that we must rely on Him--the Lord bless you and your family--:-)

  15. Fantastic, wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading it and thanks for the reminder to shepherd our children. Blessings to you as you shepherd yours.

    1. Thank you, Terri; I'm glad that you enjoyed it! Have a wonderful weekend! :-)

  16. This is a beautiful reflection Rebekah. I truly have lived this for 22 years. It is a process of guiding for sure. My three boys agree when I am in my element guiding I am Lois off of "Malcolm in the Middle." There is a beauty in it somewhere I know, they have made me who I am and I them, funny how that works. Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!

    1. You're welcome, Sherry--you are so right--it is a process of guiding--continually learning from our Shepherd to know how to shepherd the little ones He has given to us. God bless you!

  17. I really love your perspective, mainly because it echoes my own heart's cry. :) Yes, Jesus is the One you need. Always Him. There is NO better Teacher than the Holy Spirit, and no better text than God's Word -- about parenting, about marriage, about relationships, about anything and everything. Thank you for sharing this with us at the Grace & Truth Linkup. I was blessed by it!

    1. You're welcome, Jennifer! Yes, so, so true--I love how you said it--"There is NO better Teacher than the Holy Spirit, and no better text than God's Word -- about parenting, about marriage, about relationships, about anything and everything." He is sufficient. Thank you for stopping by!