When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, He snapped the shackles imposed by every graceless religious system. And because our God is a God of forgiveness and grace, we can be moms of grace.
In order to bless our kids and model Christlikeness to them, we can cultivate a grace-based atmosphere in our homes. We can offer grace-based consequences in the place of harsh condemnation. The Pharisees, elders and scribes loved to grant Jesus the opportunity to condemn people, but He didn’t. When a person entered into the presence of Jesus, that was a “grace place.”
How much effort are you putting into making your home a “grace place” for your kids?
I’ll admit that offering grace is not always fun or easy. Being “fair,” offering judgment, condemning others for their faults, and clinging to grudges can be much easier than gifting others with the blessing of forgiveness.
Alexander Pope wrote, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”[i][i] Because we’re flawed humans, grace and forgiveness don’t flow naturally from our fleshly spirits. These attributes are divine gifts, showered upon us like a refreshing spring rain from the Author of life.
For me, on most days, grace looks like patience. It’s offering a loving gesture and a kind word to my kids when I feel like screaming instead. It’s scrubbing mashed banana and cereal bars out of the carpet without harping, “How many times do I have to tell you not to eat in the living room?” My friend Caryn said that she prays throughout the day, “God, be my patience.” Now I often find myself praying that, too.
We can offer grace and forgiveness to our children because we’ve been offered grace and forgiveness. We love because God first loved us. First John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” We can “take every thought (and word) captive to the obedience of Christ,” knowing that the struggles of this life will not last forever.
In her excellent book “52 Things Kids Need from a Mom,” author Angela Thomas offers several fun and practical tips for making your home a place of grace and forgiveness. Here are some of them:
- Let your kids see you praying every day. Even better, let them join you.
- Be sure to touch each of your children each day—a brush on the shoulder, a hug, a pat on the back before school, a kiss goodnight.
- Give specific compliments and praise.
- Prioritize sitting down together for dinner as a family.
- Set boundaries and be consistent about discipline. Play the “MOM” card (say “no”) when you have to.
- Keep your promises. If your plans change, communicate that to your children.
- Involve your children in giving to people who are less fortunate than your family.
- Choose your battles; don’t point out every one of your children’s flaws. Miss a few things they do wrong. Exhibit the character of Christ and allow room for grace. Be a peacemaker instead of a perfectionist.
- Occasionally be a “supermom” and go all out for them. Plan a special surprise, a big birthday party, or something else over-the-top to communicate to them, “I think you’re awesome!”
- Talk to them and listen to them as though they are fascinating people; they are!
- Make a big deal out of God. Show them that God is #1 in your house. Be “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).
- Let them make dumb mistakes without condemnation.
- Introduce them to your best friend, Jesus.[ii][ii]
More than anything else in this world, our children need grace. I believe when our sons and daughters look back over the arc of their lives, their relationship with us will be influenced most by this: whether or not we were moms who modeled grace instead of grudges.
FBC MOPS Member
Excerpt from Prayer Warrior Mom by Marla Alupoaicei, Copyright 2012, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Do not copy or reproduce without permission.
[i][i] Alexander Pope, see http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/29593.html.
[ii][ii] Angela Thomas, 52 Things Kids Need from a Mom (Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House, 2011).