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You guys. I have read a LOT of parenting books. And there are a lot of good ones out there. But this one is the best. If you have a kid or think you ever want to have a kid, this is a must-read book for you. It easily went to the top of my best-parenting-books-ever list.
I’m convinced that this book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, can and will live up to its title if you let it. It’s about the big-picture. Parenting from a bird’s eye view.
IT ASKS AND ANSWERS:
What are the goals of parenting?
What are we seeking to accomplish as parents?
What is our role as parents?
What is NOT included in our role?
How do we lovingly discipline?
What does it look like to bring the gospel into your parenting?
IF YOU’VE EVER FELT EXHAUSTED, FRUSTRATED, OR OUT OF IDEAS…READ THIS BOOK!
I checked it out from the library and devoured it in 3 sittings – it was like fresh water for my dry and weary parenting heart. I plan to order a copy to go back through more slowly and deliberately
This past Monday, frustrations I’d been feeling kind of escalated into a day of extreme parenting failure.
I was tired of intervening with my 2 and 4 year old’s sibling wars.
Tired of their shrill fighting. (#girlmomprobs)
Tired of the whining and arguing.
Tired of dealing with misbehavior.
Tired of time outs.
Wondering – what am I doing wrong? What am I missing? Why are these kids driving me nuts? Should I get a job? Pass this whole child-rearing thing off to someone else?
I even felt tired of the good stuff sometimes – the wanting to tell and hear stories. The mommy will you hold me and snuggle me and play Frozen memory match with me for the 724th time TODAY!?!?!??!?!?!?
Honestly, I was tired of myself. I could hear myself snapping and would think – this is so unloving. This isn’t how God parents me. And yet, what am I supposed to do? How do I connect my desire to shower them love and grace with all the day-to-day-life stuff?
Needless to say, it was a perfect evening to pick up this book and finish it. This book answered all those questions and more.
It was like a breath of fresh air.
I texted some of my bestie mom friends about it:
I WANT TO GIVE IT TO EVERY PARENT I KNOW
Paul Tripp boldly proclaims the importance of parenting:
“The highest importance, holy in the true sense of what the word means” (Tripp, 29). Then he says, “To lose sight of this is to miss the point of parenting… This is the thing that should satisfy you on good days with your children and keep you motivated on the very hard days with them. This really is the central task that makes your work as a parent a treasure of extreme value. Pay attention to these words:
“Hear O Israel; The lord our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you shall today be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…
When your son asks you in time to come, “What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your son, “We were Pharoah’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharoah and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give our fathers. (Deut. 6:4-9, 20-23)
Then, he spends the rest of the book on these gospel-principles, graciously challenging parents to be ambassadors of God to our children rather than acting like we own them. Because we don’t. At the end of the day, they will grow up and leave. They won’t fear our time outs or i’m-gonna-count-to-threes or our listen-and-obeys anymore. While we might be able to temporarily modify behavior, we are not in control of our kids and we hold absolutely no power to change their hearts.
We are not raising children.
We are raising humans.
With hearts and souls and minds.
And to think we can proceed without the wisdom and grace of the God who created these tiny people – is borderline insane. (I mean, look at them…)
I woke up Tuesday morning, the Tuesday after our extra hard Monday, and told my girls, “Yesterday, mommy was really crabby. And rude. And I’m sorry… will you forgive me? Because just like I pray with you to ask Jesus to help you be kind to each other and have good attitudes and put other people first, mommy needs help with those things too. I need Jesus to help me be patient and loving and kind too.” The 2.5 year old just blurted out “I foh-give you mommy…” and ran off to play.
But my 4 year old – she got it. She got a big, understanding smile on her face and said, “Maybe we should pray to ask Jesus to help you not be crabby, mom.”
She remembered the day before.
SHE KNEW THAT MOM NEEDS JESUS TOO.
Day in and day out.
Paul Tripp puts it like this (and it hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it):
“If God’s plan really is to make his invisible grace visible by sending parents of grace to give grace to children who desperately need grace, then I am called not to just preach that grace but to live and model it for my children every day… As parents, we lose our way, and we want our own way; we forget God’s plan and follow our own plan… You see, it is only as we are willing to confess that we are more like than unlike our children… that we will be parents in need of a father’s grace who will again and again lead our children together to the grace of the Father.”
There it is.
I AM MORE LIKE MY CHILDREN THAN UNLIKE THEM.
I can be selfish, impatient, angry, irritable, unloving, and on and on. And I desperately need God’s radical, unending, present-day-right-now grace to work in me, and to help me teach and model and live out His grace to my children.
My words here are not even a great explanation of just 1 of the 14 principles in this book.
IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO RADICALLY CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON YOUR TINY HUMANS.
You need this.
I need this!
I told Ben I should buy an extra copy to just tear out the pages and plaster them on my walls since I’m prone to quickly forget all my grace-filled, gospel-centered parenting strategies when someone whines at me. (Anyone else!? No!?) Haha Lord help us all!
So, have you already read it? Are you going to? Let’s press on in grace-filled gospel – centered parenting together!
EVEN WHEN THEY’RE WHINY.
P.S. If you ever feel overwhelmed in your everyday mom life, try my new free email challenge. I can’t promise to eliminate all overwhelm, because, well, kids will be kids. BUT, the principles and tips I share in this course have transformed me from a crabby & stressed mom to one who enjoys my kids… most of the time!