As a parent and family coach, I occasionally get the chance to review books or resources that would be of interest to my audience. While I was writing my book, #FixMyFamily, I had the chance to review Paul David Tripp's Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. Over the years, I've read many parenting books and many times I struggle to find any realistic, easily applicable strategies that can help regular parents. Other times, I can get a nugget or two of information or tools that I think will help me.
Since I'm an actual parent, of FOUR girls, two of whom have hit the teen years and two more to go. I am always on the look out for good ideas that can help me do this parenting thing better. Occasionally I get to look at a book that connects with me in an inspirational way.
Parenting was just that type of book.
First, Paul, I'm calling him Paul as if we are real friends, because that's what I do with people who I think really get me, even if we haven't met. Well, anyway, Paul believes, like I do that parenting is the most amazing job because it gives us a chance to shape the heart, mind and soul of another person in a special way.
Paul and I agree that God designed you to be a tool. And that God wants to use you, daily, to show his love to your children. When you take peace in this process, give in, and submit to this task, your will feel a shift. A noticeable change in everything that you do. In the way you do what you do.
Years ago, I read Patty Labelle's book, Don't Block the Blessing. She talked about her life, losing multiple sisters at a very young age and how it had changed who she was. In the book, she described a story of a ham sandwich. Her sister, asked for a simple ham sandwich and for some reason she did prepare that sandwich.
Maybe she was busy. Or tired. But there was something that in that moment made sandwich preparation take a second seat. A short time later her sister died.
Miss Patty, now famous for more than just her singing, was devastated by this loss and felt guilty for years. Feeling the she should have honored that simple request. That it would have given her a chance to show love to her sister when she had such a short period of time left to show a lifetime of love. Her description showed how easy it is to lose sight of the big picture as we get distracted by life.
Many parents feel the same way. Myself included.
It's so easy to get distracted, balancing so many things. Maybe you can relate. There's the family budget, career goals and financial needs. My desire to impact my community and my own thirst for knowledge and development. My children's physical and emotional well-being and their interests as well. All of these things compete for my time and attention.
Yes, it's easy to get sidetracked, distracted or even completely off course. To avoid that, placing my eyes, fixing them really, on the purpose God has for me helps me keep my perspective.
Through 14 principles, there are inspirational messages, words of correction, thought provoking ideas and more. As I read through the book, I was reminded of how powerful the role I play in my children's lives is, but also how amazing it is to be supported by an ever-loving, all-knowing God.
God doesn't need me to be perfect. He doesn't need me to make a 5 course organic meal. He's not looking for me to be crunchy or vegan. God isn't looking for my homeschool lessons to be aligned to common core and he's okay with the fact that I sometimes eat a chocolate bar behind my kids back while I pretending to fold laundry in the basement.
God wants me to steer my children toward him. With love and grace and compassion. He wants me to make sure I show my kids how much God loves us all. By giving myself a break, I can give my kids a break and we both feel closer to God.
Lysa Terquist gave some great advice on this that, that I will paraphrase as I think fit in well with the parenting principles.
- Don't take too much credit for your kids success.
- Don't take too much credit for their failures.
- Don't try and raise a perfect kid, raise one who relies on God.
If you're interested in winning a copy of Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, head over to Facebook and comment on my on this post, where I will pick a winner by October 25th.
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