Our MOPS group is a dynamic, inviting environment where moms can come just as they are to build friendships, be encouraged, and gain practical parenting strategies. All while their children are lovingly cared for in the MOPPETS program.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Graceful Parenting

Hi Ladies! From time to time, we'll have some guests post a thought for us. This one is from Jodi Vermaas, our friend, mentor, and staff contact. Enjoy!

Romans 14:19- “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

As a Christian, a mother, a counselor and a children’s ministry director, I have had lots of experiences with many adults and children. I am thrilled to be part of a ministry that allows us all to walk through the doors (no matter what our sinful backgrounds may be) and inspires us to change. I am also grateful for the grace we all experience as we continually realize our sin, and how we can change. As a Christian people, we try hard to welcome others and to make everyone feel that they are not only accepted, but loved and valued. I know how grateful I am that people love me, even when I am unlovable!

As a mother, I have been perplexed about how we as mothers can sometimes throw out that same grace we rely on with each other when it comes to dealing with children - other people’s children and our own. I feel called to look at children the way I look at my fellow female - with grace. We all can think this is a “no-brainer,” but haven’t we all been guilty of passing spiritual judgment on a child (or his/her parents), when that child has acted out in some way? I believe we need to walk carefully in these situations.

Consider the myriad of controversial topics when it comes to dealing with children:
If/how/when/and where to discipline?
Home school/Christian school/Public school?
Some TV/no TV/any TV (the same for music, movies, etc.)?
No junk food/organic food/eat what is put in front of you?
Obedience: required the first time/required unless the child is over-tired/required sometimes/only when in front of others?
Church kids are always/sometimes/learning to be (which one is ok to you?) calm, kind, and respectful?

I once had a mother point out to my husband that one of my children - who has a sensory processing disorder and who was having a loud sensory reaction to his surroundings at the time - that if we “spare the rod, we spoil the child.” While we appreciated the scripture knowledge, we did not feel we were being built up in our parenting! We felt so discouraged and misunderstood, not to mention how our child felt.

Sometimes being stuck in our own parenting world with the children we know, we put expectations and judgments on kids that we barely know, not to mention understand. It is subtle, but can hurt our relationships with one another. As mothers, let’s lead the charge in building each other up as we take on the greatest challenge of our lives - raising kids to God’s glory!

They all grow, change, mature, adjust, and fall down. They all have unique needs, challenges, gifts, and sinful natures. Just like us, they need grace. Let’s encourage one another to look at our children and others the way we desire to be looked upon, through the eyes of Christ. When we do this, power and unity is given the ability to spread through our friendships, our ministries, and our lives. And when we live by grace, we are then able to give instruction, discipline and advice in ways that are uplifting and Spirit-led.

(If you are interested in learning more, all of Romans 14 is a good study on this topic.)


Kelly said...

That is so great!! Thanks for the reminder, Jodi! That is so hard to do. It is mercy over judgement! We never know what the history is behind those children and parents! We are called to LOVE them in spite of them!