Jan 22, 2017

Don't be a hypocrite....

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Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Parenting is hard.

Like, super duper in your face, sweaty armpits hard.

It's not the physical part so much anymore with a tween and a teen. It's the mental. My brain feels like it will fall out of my head sometimes.

I remember older mother friends telling me the teen years would be just as hard if not harder. I would look at them across the table with my baby food splattered shirt, greasy half up and half down ponytail, and force a smile. Secretly rolling my eyes.

But, you know what?

They were right. Oh, so right.

By far,  the hardest part of parenting for me is not being a hypocrite. 

Yep. I said it. Out loud.

When your kids become a certain age, they begin to take notice of your actions. Not just your words.

Gulp.

They begin to wonder if mom and dad really mean all the things they say and teach.

Actions speak louder than words to teens.

It's tried and true.

When my kids were smaller, I would feel really great about my mothering if I taught my kids a verse to memorize or sang Jesus songs with them. I would pat myself on the back and think, "I am doing so well!"

But, as they got older I begin to notice those things were good, but so much more was needed.

Like, do I really live out that verse we just memorized? Or was it just for "show".

Recently, one of my kids caught me in the act of something in particular.  It was something that I was constantly telling them not to do.

This particular child called me to the carpet. Right then. Right there.

I was so mad.

And humiliated.

And humbled. [in the not-so good way]

Head hung low, I apologized and told them that the behavior was wrong.

Then this child said, "Mom, isn't it called a "hypocrite" to do something that you teach us not to do?"

This is when I wanted to slap this precious child across their rosy little cheeks.  [I didn't though]

Collecting every big of grace I could muster up, I replied..."Yes, child. It is. Thanks for pointing that out." [sarcasm intended]

"For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

How many times have I said this verse to my children, preaching it, teaching it....yet, so often not living it out.

Children need an example, not another lecture.

Lectures come easy. They roll off our tongues with parental knowledge and authority.

Leading by example is not so easy. It takes discipline. And intention. And lots and lots of humility.

I wish I could say that my children have had the best example lived out before them, but this has not always been the case.

Daily I struggle with my mouth, my actions, my heart.

My intentions are good. But my actions have sometimes been not so good.

I choose not to beat myself up for the mistakes, because I know that God is a God of pure Grace. He knows I will fail at times, yet He always picks me right back up.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

We will mess up.

But, what will we do after the mess up?

Will we give up on this parenting thing and leave our kids to look to the world for an example?

Or will we dig deep in the soil of His Grace.  Falling on our face daily asking God for wisdom and strength to raise these precious treasures He has put in our care.

The thing about kids is that they are full of grace too. They don't dangle it over our heads when we mess up. They forgive easily. They move on easily. And so should we.

But, we should take this endeavor seriously.

Except for our relationship with Jesus Christ and our husbands, our children are the next priority.

If you are wondering where you fit into doing Kingdom Work, and you are a mother, look no further.

One of my very favorite quotes comes from Mother Teresa: "What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."

If God has called you to motherhood, there is no greater work for God's kingdom that we can do. Although the world will sure try to tell you otherwise.

These little ones are not under our care forever. Our time with them is short. Just ask anyone who has an empty nest.

We must lead by example. Even when it is the hardest thing on Earth to do at times.

Some days it takes every ounce of discipline and straight up taping my mouth shut in order to not be a hypocrite.

But, God honors our efforts. He will help us if we ask Him for help. [even when we ask Him all day!]

Do we want our children to be good husbands and wives to their spouses?

Then, let's model that to them.

Do we want our children to love the Lord and know His Word?

Then, let's model that for them.

Do we want our children to love their enemies?

Then, let's model that for them.

Do we want our children to respect authority?

Then, let's model that for them.

Do we want our children to have a good attitude and good sportsmanship?

Then, let's model that for them.

Do we want our children to know their identity and worth in Christ instead of seeking the world for affirmation?

Then, let's model that for them.

Do we want our children to not covet material things?

Then, let's model that for them.

Do we want our children to show kindness, even to those who are unkind?

Then, let's model that for them.

Our children will more than likely do, what they see being done.

Our habits and actions will resonate into our children's hearts and eventually into their habits and actions.

We won't always get it right.

But, gosh. We sure can try.


desperately working on not being a hypocrite,

jill