This means that my biggest, ongoing problem as a parent is not my children, it’s me. My children don’t cause me to do and say what I do and say. No, the cause of my actions is found inside my own heart. My children are simply the occasion where my heart reveals itself in words and actions. So I need much more than just rescue and relief from my children; I need rescue from me. This is why Jesus came, to provide us with the rescue that we all need but that we cannot provide for ourselves.
This message I’m about to share with you from the Homeschooling Summit and Dr Paul Tripp was definitely a pivotal moment in transforming my parenting journey, I hope it brings you as many “aha” moments as it did me, and I pray that it brings purpose to your parenting like never before as it did for me, may God bless your heart and home with this insightful and profound teaching by Dr Tripp.
As parents we are here to be ambassadors for Christ to our children and it’s all about grace. We have a front row seat to what God is trying to show us in moments of conflict our children have, we can’t get mad when these moments arise, instead we need to be grateful that in these moments we get to speak into that child’s life and reveal Jesus.
Children don’t know they are sinners or that they are worshipping themselves, but the moments of conflict are our opportunity to point them toward Jesus.
Kids don’t know why they do what they do because they don’t know who they are, that’s our job to help them learn that.
When a moment of conflict arises with your children, here are 5 questions to ask to help direct your kids to understanding their position in sin and in making them desire Jesus, 5 questions that will get at their heart:
Instead of saying to ourselves “how quickly can I solve this”, let’s ask ourselves “what does God want to do in this moment, what is God revealing to me in this moment and what does He want me to do about it?”
The questions to ask your children are:
1. What was going on (don’t worry about it being biased, it will be,just get the facts so you can so you can speak into them).
2. What were you thinking and feeling as it was happening? (Turning the camera towards his heart).
3. What did you do in response? (Teaching then that their response is what their heart wanted at that moment).
4. Why did you do it, what were you seeking to accomplish?
5. What was the result.
These questions begin to train the child about what is going on inside themselves.
Now the first time we do this our child is not going to say to us “I get it I’m a sinner where’s Jesus?”. No God is going to give us opportunity to have this conversation thousands of times with our kids so that every time we have this conversation we are giving the Spirit of God the opportunity to work inside that child’s heart.
I’m not always just disciplining the child I’m applying instruction to discipline, the best way to instruct is not to lecture, but to ask questions to bring them into understanding… Asking questions that reveal the heart.
When we ask ourselves “how can I be part of the agenda that God wants to work inside this child” this is where true conviction will eventually come alive in their hearts.
We need to help our children to hunger for how much they need Jesus by seeing how broken they are inside, by them acting in anger, selfishness, violence, the desire to be in control etc we get the opportunity to let the Spirit point out their brokenness and in turn make them hunger for Jesus, but we are the tool that God is using to point them in the way.
When children are fighting us on everything it is not because they are trying to be bad, it’s an innate desire not to be ruled that’s controlling them and it’s an opportunity for us to say “you know mommy loves you, why are you fighting me about…? It’s not about that thing but everyone of these moments of conflict is an opportunity for us to get to the deeper issue of the heart.
Lasting change in our child’s behavior always travels through the pathway of the heart, no heart change and we won’t get lasting behavior change…
We have no ability whatsoever to change our children, NONE, change is not our job… Our job is to be a tool in the hands of the one who can, Jesus.
We are just a tool in Gods toolbox… We are not meant to load the entire welfare of these children onto our shoulders.
I am but a tool and a representative of Jesus in the lives of these children. God sends us as parents of grace to give grace so that they can then see His face…
Grace is not permissive parenting, grace sees wrong as wrong, but it’s a way of moving towards wrong in a way that reveals wrong and makes that visible to the heart.
The genius of parenting is that it’s repetitive, God works that way in our lives too…
Just like the cross saved us but it is a progressive journey of life for us to change, and we will never arrive is this lifetime, just the same is a child. So let’s realize that change is not an event it’s more of a process or pilgrimage. Just like our children will not just “be good, or listen or be obedient” because we say so, no we need to steward them constantly in the way, till it becomes a desire of their heart to choose Jesus over their fleshly desires.
I don’t have to get ultimate change today, but I need to be thankful for every opportunity that arises in my children’s lives that God can then use me as a tool to reveal Himself to their hearts.
It’s little steps it’s bits and pieces, and every repeated moment or conversation with our children is progress.
Our desire should not to be to score a touch down with every interaction with our children, it shouldn’t be to change them because we are not the change makers Jesus is, we are the tool He uses, if we believe we are the change makers we will exhaust ourselves, frustrate ourselves and frustrate our children in the process with our expectations of them…
If we make this about us and our change agenda for our children 4 things will happen:
1. We will turn moments of ministry into moments of anger. let’s not make their disobedience personal, it’s God revealing something so that we can be a part of what He is doing in the child’s heart.
2. It’s not personal.
3. When we respond with “I can’t believe I have to talk to you about this again, I can’t believe this…” When we react like this to our children we are not actually part of what God is doing, but we are actually in the way of it…
4. You then settle for quick situational solutions, you don’t get to the heart of the matter, you bark an order, you bark a punishment and the child is unchanged…
You can’t have a WIN mentality, you have to have a process mentality. Where each conversation is a step towards heart change.
There will never be complete transformation till Jesus returns, so stop expecting that and start working towards step by step hand in hand with Jesus work to bring your child to a desire for Christ and not sin.
I want to make steps Of change, but I know that each time will be incomplete because God is going to give me another opportunity.
Jesus and our wise Heavenly Father is no only working on our children in these moments that arise, but He is working in everyone in the room… He will expose our hearts and our weakness and our need for transformation in these times as well.
Nobody gives grace easier than the person who knows they need grace the most.
God accepts us as dirty, sinful and ugly sinners and He meets us in our need… We need to do that for Him with our children.
The problem is not that they don’t know God’s law, they know it, but it’s just that they don’t love the giver of the law enough, they want to be on His throne and they want to rule their own lives.
Ask your children:
Why do you resist my correction? I don’t want bad things for you, I love you, I don’t get joy our of making you mad.. what is it inside of you that you want to have your own way?
Getting the child to recognize that the greatest danger of their lives doesn’t exist outside of them but inside of them and it’s a thing called sin.
Let the child recognize the knowledge of the heart, the recognition of sin and the need for a savior.
When children recognize that they have a problem inside of them that they can’t solve (sin) they then come to the conclusion that they need help (Jesus) then change will come in a genuine way.
Our children were not put on this earth to shoulder the burden of our identity. It’s too heavy for them let’s not do that to them, them acting and being a certain way or standard does not make us better people…
We can’t make our “feel good” about them being good, it’s not fair and it’s not Christlike. If Jesus did that he would never have chosen any one of His disciples, they were flawed and imperfect and He knew who He was. We can’t get angry at them for not listening or being disobedient or fighting NO, these moments are opportunities for us to lead them to Christ, not for us to get a boost of self esteem with little obedient robots who are not being transformed of heart…
We cannot try to accomplish through our children what we didn’t accomplish ourselves in our lives, it will break them…
Being a parent is being willing to suffer for the sake of our children, we don’t always get a comfortable day, but it’s for Jesus.
Every time we exercise authority we want it to be a beautiful picture of the authority of God, His tender, patient, kind and merciful authority…
3 prayers to pray to achieve this tender parenting:
1. God I’m a parent in desperate need of help today because parenting is not natural for me.
2. I pray that you would send your helpers my way.
3. And please give me the humility to receive the help when it comes.
God is never disgusted by our failure, He Is not turned off by our weakness and He will never mock our need. We need to be this way with our children.
I know this was long, but I hope it will transform your heart and home is one way or another.
I’d love to hear your thoughts so drop me a message.
God Bless you