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The guest post by Julie Loos about graceful parenting and the grace we learn by parenting has encouraged me so much. I hope you are as encouraged by it as I was!
Dirty, smelly clothes were littered all over the bedroom floor, bath towels laid in a heap in the bathroom and the bed sheets were spilling into a tangled mess all over the side of the bunk bed.
Stinky, crusty socks were strewn across the bookcase, under the computer desk, and on the kitchen counter.
My boys have a way of making sure I have job security in my home and a never-ending task of laundry. Even though this is the case, it’s frustrating that they are oblivious to the mess they leave behind.
Seriously, can’t they see it laying there? Is the dirty clothes basket not big enough?
The World of Raising Boys
Can I be honest? This has been an eye-opening experience to the world of boys since I grew up with just a sister.
We were organized, quiet, and peaceful. In comparison, my boys are intense, tough and physical. We’ve seen many E.R. visits for stitches and staples. Almost every day I can find myself questioning what I’m doing in regards to raising four boys. I don’t know anything about boys and how to raise gentlemen!
Many days they make me irritable and impatient because I can’t deal with their intensity.
What is it with constant kicking or wrestling?
If I hear “Mom where is my…?” just one more time, I think I’ll go crazy.
Honestly, my boys show me little thanks for what I clean up and do for them. It may make me mad, but the next moment they show their love for me and that makes it all worth it.
They can be so loving, and yet so disrespectful and oblivious to how I care for them.
The Meaning of Grace
If I look at their actions and help around the house, they don’t deserve the things they receive. However, the gifts and the provisions I give them is because they are my kids. I’ve been blessed with these four, crazy boys.
Here’s the thing, I can yell and try to change them to what I think they should be or how they should act, but God is showing me His grace through raising my boys. My boys are teaching me more than I am teaching them about patience, grace, and love.
Dare I admit it, I treat God the same way.
He takes care of me and yet many times, I complain or don’t appreciate what He gives me. I leave His provisions laying around or even forget about them; sometimes He needs to remind me or point out my lack of thankfulness.
During hard seasons and circumstances, He has come to my rescue and comforted me and yet I forget. What a slap in the face it must be to God when He constantly gives and yet I’m not happy.
How much God does for me which I’m not grateful for!
Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues. ~John Stott
What is Grace?
grace(in the Christian belief)- is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
What raising boys is teaching me about grace:
- I don’t deserve it.
- I can be really bad to God.
- Grace isn’t based on who I am.
- Grace from God never ends.
- It’s a gift.
- God’s grace drives me to offer grace to others.
- This gift of grace is meant to be shared, not hoarded.
Grace Changes Lives
Our lives should change if we understand what we should receive, and yet what God gives us instead!
What we deserve is eternal damnation for all the sins we’ve committed, but yet God sent Jesus to deliver us from both. God’s gift doesn’t require any works on our part.
We don’t have to “do” anything because Jesus “did” it all.
What amazing grace!
Grace is based on what Jesus has done for us because we certainly shouldn’t receive what we get.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9, NLT)
Grace Forgets our Messes
Just like my boys, I mess up daily and yet God sends blessings to me. How often have I been disrespectful and oblivious to what He has done for me?
God forgives me for all the things I’ve done, because of His love. This shows me that regardless of what my boys do or say, I will offer them forgiveness because of the example of God.
One time, one of my boys stole some collector’s cards from another boy at school. The school administration called me and asked how I wanted to proceed. I requested the police officer come and talk to him to reinforce the seriousness of this action.
Although I didn’t want to inflict more pain on him, I wanted to make a lasting impression because of my love for my son. I didn’t want to see this repeated in the future. Graceful parenting sometimes requires tough love.
Continuous Offering of Grace
The same has happened with God when I tried to control my life, He allowed me to become really sick. The pain was intense, but the lesson learned has followed me into the future.
Everything God does for us is to ensure we remain faithful and steadfast in faith till we reach eternity. He knows we are works-in-progress and He offers us grace on the journey. As our Father, He demonstrates graceful parenting.
As it is with my boys, they are ever developing and changing and I need to supply grace after grace as they grow.
Thank goodness for grace!
Grace tells me:
- My boys are unique.
- I need God when they make me irritable and frustrated.
- God is working on my boys and me.
- I’m going to blow it, my boys will blow it but that’s where grace enters.
The laundry will still end up on the floor and I will find stinky socks in my desk drawer, but moving forward, these are signs to me of the grace God has given me. He died to deliver me from eternal death. These frustrations are gifts of grace.
The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.
– Frederick Buechner
I’m Julie. Writer, Jesus follower, wife, and mother to five incredible kids. Sweet tea and chocolate are my favorites. I struggle with my faith, and I’m a work in progress.
When we look back over the footprints of our journey, God will start unmasking the hard places. Joy and wonder will fill us because there was meaning in the mess for us.