Accepting Reality Gracefully and Not So Gracefully

Yesterday, I got that phone call from the school, the ‘I need to talk to you because your child got in trouble at school today call.’ I listened as the teacher explained how my child thought it was ok to look at his study guide during a test and received a zero on his test. My first reaction is to defend but after these last few days of bible study, I was prepared for the fact that my child is, don’t be shocked, a sinner and this was a great test for me on how I was going to deal with it. I thanked her kindly and got off the phone.
I had an hour or so before I had to pick up this child from school so I spent some much-needed time in prayer. I asked the Lord to prepare his heart for our much-needed discussion, I asked Him to give me the grace and words to lead my child to repentance. I prayed for cool heads and a warm hearts.
Once he got home, I made sure he had a snack and a drink (never have a serious discussion in our house when we are hungry – it doesn’t go well) and I asked him if we could talk. I simply said, tell me what happened at school today and he began to go into a well rehearsed dissertation of why it was the teachers fault – he didn’t understand, she is crazy, he tried to ask her a question etc. and then I simply said, ” I don’t want to know what the teacher did or didn’t do right or wrong, I want to know what you did.” (As a side note, I have really been praying and working on our family admitting when we are wrong and apologizing for it, this is really hard for this particular child – admitting when he is wrong is not fun for any of us but especially hard on him. So I have been seeking God on how to help him get over his pride of having to be right all time and admit his faults.) He eventually admitted to his fault and apologized, which opened up the conversation for me to tell him that I had been praying for him and that I felt like he feels the need to be perfect. I told him that none of us are perfect and that is why Jesus had to die on the cross. I got the privilege of explaining to him that we are all going to mess up and that is WHY WE NEED JESUS.
I am ever so painfully and slowly realizing that my role as a parent is to help my children see their sin and what they can do about it. I so often want to fix their behavior and not challenge their heart. The reality is, I can make them change a behavior but I can’t change their heart. Only God can do that. As a parent, I must consistently bring their sin into focus, not to get them in trouble but to allow God to work in their heart. The consequence of this behavior didn’t change, he still has a zero and no Xbox but I honestly feel like we moved a step in the right direction.
Do I think he is cured of his unwillingness to admit when he was at fault? No, but I think we moved one baby step closer to him understanding his depravity and my willingness to help grow him into a man after God’s own heart. I have messed this up so often in the past, I have looked at behavior way more than the heart and allowed it to rule my parenting.
It helped me yesterday after a few days of realizing how sinful I am. I think we were are ever aware of how sinful we are, we are much easier on those around us when they sin. How can I not offer up my love and forgiveness for those who sin around me or to me when I am constantly asking God for his love and forgiveness? “In the face of Adam and Eve’s evil, God takes up needle and thread and patiently sews fine leather clothing for them. He covers their divided, hiding selves with love. The same God permits his Son to be stripped naked so we could be clothed. God is not cynical in the face of evil. He loves.” (From The Praying Life by Paul Miller)
I must also admit that I didn’t show the same grace and love for my husband yesterday. I reacted awful lest you think I got more than one thing right yesterday. πŸ™‚ I am a huge work in progress.

6 thoughts on “Accepting Reality Gracefully and Not So Gracefully

    1. It is so hard to do – I would much rather just handle their behavior! I always joke that I miss the days when I could just give them a spanking and it fixed everything! πŸ™‚

  1. These words are so encouraging. Luke and I have ELijah 3 and Halle 11 months.. its so refreshing to hear other mom’s struggles and triumphs when trying point our kids straight to Jesus.. to know we arent the only one’s working towards the same goal! thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  2. Boy, this is a lesson I could’ve stood to learn about 16 years ago. Sigh. Oh well, God can still make much of what little time I have left with our boys. Excellent post, Kasey.

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