Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Unrecognized Graces (Part II)

God's most precious gifts to us often remain unseen.
Misguided by worldly perspectives, we may not readily admire, embrace, and receive them as gifts.

The Church is one of these gifts. Burdened by guilt, plagued with fear, too tired, too busy, and too focused on ourselves, we often fail to recognize how precious the local body of believers banded together to encourage one another to strive after Jesus really is. (To read a post on this, click here.)
Authority is another of these unrecognized gifts that I have come to see the beauty of over the past few months.

Becoming a parent is one of those rare moments in which your whole world changes in one instant.

The first of these life-changing moments that I remember was getting engaged. One moment we were just dating and I was trying to guard my heart and mind by limiting the time I spent on wedding blogs because I knew that when I spent time looking at wedding dresses, candlelit mason jars, and dessert table decorations, before I knew it I are thinking about what I might name my firstborn son or daughter. But then, in another moment, in one exclaimed "Yes!" and the gift of a beautiful diamond ring, I could begin thinking of this man kneeling in front of me as my future husband. And planning my wedding cake and choosing my bridesmaids was now on my list of things to do.

The next life-changing moment happened at the altar, when, with only a paragraph of words, we entered into one of the most sacred covenants, pledging our lives and love to each other. One moment we were two separate persons; the next, we were "one." I remember walking down the aisle, with my hand in my husband's (I loved being able to say that!), getting into the Jeep with him, and screaming, "Ahhhhhhhhhh! We're married!" It was such a wonderful, surreal feeling, knowing we now belonged to each other until death do us part.

And then we became parents. I was very aware of the baby growing inside me with each passing day- from when I couldn't stand to eat broccoli anymore, to when I couldn't see my feet- but the moment the nurse lifted the wiggling little baby girl onto my belly and her searching eyes met mine, the whole world seemed to stop. There she was. And she was ours. God had given us this beautiful baby girl to care for and to guide in His ways. He had entrusted her to us.

The thought of becoming a parent is amazing and overwhelming and joyful and so, so frightening all mixed into one. And God has been teaching me how I can never be a mommy apart from Him. And, through the Seminary Wives class I took on Biblical Parenting, He has showed me a precious part of parenting I had always viewed with sort-of an "I have to because I'm a mom now, but I don't really want to or I don't really understand fully why I need to" attitude. He has been showing me the gift of Authority.

One of the main things I learned from the class was this:

Our aim, and our desire as parents should be to prepare, 
to soften our children's hearts 
for God to work as He so chooses. 

God does not need us, and He can work despite our failures and shortcomings as parents. 
But He has entrusted us with our children, and given them to us. 
And we have the amazing privilege of being a part of His plan and His working in their little lives!

By training our children to submit to our authority in their lives, 
we can help soften their little hearts for submitting to God's authority. 

God has placed us as authorities over our children. And training them to submit to us and to respect us is not only a command, it is a grace for them! 

Thinking of my authority as a mommy in this way has given me a desire to train my children, by God's grace and strength, to submit to authority, not just because it is a command for me to do so, but because it is a gift to them. It has helped to clear away the guilt and "I'm sorry I have to do this" feelings I had felt I would have when disciplining our children in the future and has helped me to see how it is truly for their good

All the authority God has placed in our lives is not in place "just because" or just so things can run more smoothly, but for our good. It is a gift designed to soften our hearts to submit to Him as the ultimate Authority and to draw us more to Himself. 

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