Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Jesus, Present and Merciful in the Mess

So, Connected Families framework is our ideal way of relating to each other as a family.  I don't think anyone would be surprised to learn that we don't live it out perfectly.  Some days we don't even come close.  We are learning and improving in our ability to apply God's truth and grace in our family.  

In the 2012 edition of Jim and Lynne's book Discipline that Connects With Your Child's Heart (a new edition will be released on September), there is a quote on the bottom of page 30 that really resonates with me:

... I act on the belief that Jesus is present and merciful even in messy family conflicts.  He gives me self-control and clear thinking to solve the problem.
We definitely have our share of messy family conflicts, and so these words encourage me deeply.

The presence of Jesus is such a fundamental and powerful truth.  He is Immanuel, God With Us.  What does it mean to act on the belief that Jesus is with me?  Even in the smallest moment of my day, I can bring to mind that He is at my side.  When I think of Him as an observer, I remember the charge to work heartily unto the Lord in my vocation, which is motherhood.  But he is more than a distant audience.  I also renew my mind with the understanding that He is active in the situations I face.  He is working in my heart and the heart of my husband and children.  He is on our side.  He is FOR me and my family, beckoning us to walk in His ways, rooting for us when we make steps in the right path, hesitating and feeble as they may sometimes be.

And when I don't bring those truths to mind, when I dive in impulsively or become paralyzed with anxiety or allow distractions to sway me from my priorities, Jesus is merciful.  When I sin against my children and exasperate them and add fuel to the fire of conflict instead of shodding my feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, Jesus is merciful. He is my 24/7 parenting coach, whispering gentle correction to my heart whenever I err.  Thanks be to God for his great mercy in Christ our Lord!  Without it, who could stand?

I have found that I can't white-knuckle or fake patience or wisdom in my parenting for very long if at all.  It is such a relief to realize there is a different path.  Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  He is faithful to supply the patience and wisdom that I need for each moment and He does the real work of connecting our family to Himself, to each other and to what He has for us to do.

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