It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
These are the words that my oldest daughter had printed on her graduations invitation. I am amazed at this, considering how she was raised for several years. It all started about two years after I had begun to home school my kids. A fellow mom gave me a copy of To Train a Child. She insisted it was the best help she ever had with raising her children. Since she had about eight at the time, I figured she must have known what she was talking about. Took the poison home and swallowed it.
The whole premise of the book is if your children are not obedient to you, their earthly parents, then how they will ever learn to be obedient to their heavenly Father. So their very eternity depends on whether or not you can get them to be obedient. What I didn’t understand was that it was an outward obedience.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27
So here comes the fear again. There was fear that my children might grow up to be bums, hoodlums, criminals, single parents, or even worse non-believers. I am not able to go into a lot of detail because it is just too painful. I will say that everything and I mean everything became an act of disobedience. If they didn’t finish their math problems in the allotted time, then they were punished. If every speck of dirt wasn’t swept up then they were punished. As their newly appointed “savior” I had to make sure they were perfect or else I would fail them and they would end up wayward and non-believers.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12
The Lord is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness. Psalm 103:8
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36
I showed no mercy, compassion or grace to my two oldest children. The greatest commandment I have is to love God love people. This was not part of my life. The only part of my life was a false pride that my children would turn out “wonderful”.
About two years ago, when my oldest were 16 and 17, God begin to whisper then shout at us how we had Him and our worship wrong. We were following man’s ways not God’s. We were trying through the law and not grace to reach our children’s hearts.
You have been severed from Christ those of you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. Galatians 5:4
In trying to force an outward change we were also not trusting our children to God. We were withholding them from Him and His plan for their lives. I am not advocating total hands off parenting, but the extent to which we took our discipline was way over the line. It did not allow any room for mercy and love. We were consumed with the outward obedience. We were not showing our children God’s grace, mercy, and love.
Where are we now? Our relationship with our son, who no longer lives at home, is strained. Our change of heart came too little too late with him. His behavior became so bad that after an incident in which he was very aggressive toward me, my husband ask him to leave. He is making some very bad choices; I do not take the complete blame as we are all responsible for our choices. I feel that with better shepherding he would have had the tools to make better choices. We are trying to mend that relationship, and are trusting God to correct any mistakes we made. Our daughter is still at home, and doesn’t have a desire to leave. I am glad, because I love having her with me and fellowshipping with her. We also have an eight and four year old daughter. I want to share some things that have been revealed to us in the journey of leaving our old mind set.
According to Ephesians 2:3 we are children of wrath and we do not have the ability on our own strength to make ourselves right with God. We can never obey enough rules because:
For whoever keeps the whole law yet stumbles in one point he has become guilty of all.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so. Romans 8:6-7
We can never punish our children enough, because by nature they are sinners. It is not up to us to draw them to God. He is capable of doing that Himself. We can point them to God, but not by the law. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:7-8
Ouch. Instead of loving my children unconditionally I had placed conditions on them that they could never meet. God is so pure, righteous, and holy that we are unable to meet that standard. This requires wrath, but love drove Him to the cross for me. I need for my children to see and understand that great gift of love. I need to teach my children who we are and what he did for us. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit. This is one of my husband’s favorite verses since coming out of the craziness:
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20
Satan has been twisting things up for so long and he is a pro. I know full well the verses abused by the patriarchy movement, and I am not defending them. You may ask how can you still trust God’s word, but I am compelled to. Krwordgazer has such a gift for straightening some of the abused verses out. Check her post for some explanations of these verses. I just know that the verses I have given speak to me in a very powerful way. They helped lead me and my husband out of the craziness. I know I may have left things out that may help make my story clearer, but this was very hard to write as I love my children so much. Please ask me questions directly or on the forum.