I can honestly say that nothing has shown me my need to both give and receive God’s grace like parenting. The responsibility of raising and launching young adults into the world, praying they love Jesus with their whole heart, brought a pressure like no other. I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt the tension of how to navigate the precious and precarious season. The sheer number of parenting books acknowledges the quest to parent well, and our own bookshelf holds about two dozen. Different books teach from different angles, offering different techniques for different personalities. However, it wasn’t until years into parenting (and in all honesty at a place of frustration), that my husband and I realized one truth that changed our course.
Among the books we read, two rose to the top: Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel and Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. We wanted a quick fix—rules, charts and discipline tactics, yet we discovered what we all needed was more grace.
As we dove into the concept of grace-based parenting, we found the space and freedom to parent our children according to their uniqueness, rather than pre-set responses. Yes, it was in some ways easier to parent with systems already in place, but the problem was those systems didn’t leave room for daily life or personality differences. Parenting with grace doesn’t mean no rules or consequences, but that we look at the whole child and consider multiple factors before responding.
As Give Them Grace so beautifully says, “Parenting with grace isn’t another set of rules for you to follow. It’s a story that you’re to rejoice in. Share the story with your children. Show them the Savior...dazzle them with His love.” Instead of going straight to discipline in situations of disobedience, these books recommended we seize the opportunity to point our children (and ourselves) back to Jesus, using what is going on in the individual child to produce a teachable moment with consequences to fit the situation.
Once we began to parent with more grace and less legalism (ouch, such a hefty word!), the biggest change in our home was the atmosphere. Here’s how Kimmel explains it: “For the most part, a home should be a place that brings the best out in everyone and grooms children for confident and effective adulthood.” Our homes are fertile ground for the gospel of Jesus to speak to us and our children throughout the day. As we became more grace focused we also began to respect and rejoice in the uniqueness of our children, rather than being frustrated by those differences. As I first receive grace and love from Jesus, I am able to respond in more loving and grace-filled ways toward my kids.
If you are looking for good parenting reads, be sure to check these two out. What books on children and parenting are you loving? I’d love to hear from you!
Meet the Author!
Heather McAnear is a wife, mom, author and speaker with a passion for sharing God's truth to help women understand their uniquely beautiful design and how to use it for God's glory! She loves teaching young married couples with her husband, homeschooling their three children, traveling the world, enjoying good chocolate and long conversations in coffee shops. CRBC has been her church home for two decades and she is thrilled to be part of the Women's Ministry team, helping women connect with each other and grow in their walk with Jesus!