Until our first-born arrived, none of us had ever parented before. It all feels like an experiment with a lot of uncertainties. What makes it possible to parent with confidence?
Most of us would say that we love being a parent . . . at least some of the time, right?
But being a parent (noun) means we have to parent (verb)!
And parenting is hard.
So there are also times that we dread it. And avoid it. And wonder why we looked forward to it so eagerly. Perhaps we even wish we could wish it away. Come on, be honest . . .
Why is that? Why is parenting so hard? Scripture says that children are a gift from God. That those who have them are blessed. (Psalm 27:3-5)
Why, then, are we tempted to resent our privileged position? To reject this demonstration of God’s goodness to us?
What makes us resist the work that parenting involves?
There are quite possibly as many different answers to that question as there are parents. But I bet we could boil them all down to two basic requirements for every parent.
Change – The moment a baby is conceived, an unending process of change begins. Physically, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually, nothing will ever be the same! And that’s not just for the growing infant. Mom and dad face growth and change too. At the same time that’s happening, it’s our job to facilitate change in the child. And we don’t always meet change very well because it requires:
Surrender – Taking care of someone else requires us to deny ourselves, to give things up. As parents we surrender sleep, comfort, money, time, quiet, order . . . an endless list of personal desires for the benefit of our children. While we’re responsible to orchestrate much of our children’s lives, we also have to give up control. A friend shared recently that at the birth of each of her four children, her dad told her, “Tomorrow begins the first day of letting go.” We don’t do that so well either, huh!
The weight of what we’ve been asked to do can overwhelm us,
But God . . .
It has been said that those two words are the most beautiful in all of Scripture. Because they rescue us from ourselves. They provide an alternative to our sinful state.
We understand that as it applies to our salvation.
How God’s justice required a penalty, yet His mercy intervened to supply a Savior who would accept our punishment, so that His grace could offer forgiveness, reconciliation, and righteousness. In short, a completely new life.**
We must also embrace those two words, but God, as they affect our parenting. Because the same justice and mercy and grace that make the gospel sweet, make it possible to parent with confidence.
That’s the subject of Paul Tripp’s new book (Amazon affiliate link), Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family.
If you’ve ever heard someone talk about parenting with the gospel in mind and thought, “What in the world are they talking about,” this book is for you! As the author states in the introduction,
“It is meant to help you see how radically different parenting becomes when you quite trying to produce change and become a willing tool of grace that rescues, forgives, and changes.”
Mr. Tripp does not offer us a new parenting strategy. Instead, he walks us through building a parenting philosophy, a way of thinking about all aspects of parenting, based on the themes of the gospel. He lists and briefly explains those 14 gospel principles for parents in his article, Why Parenting Strategies Won’t Work.
Each chapter of the book further explores how to apply each of those principles to your daily quest to parent with confidence. It is written for every parent at any stage. So whether you’re still expecting, have already begun to chase toddlers around the house or stay up late waiting for teens to return, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family will help you understand the calling you’ve been given in light of the God who makes all the necessary change and surrender possible.
**Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21, Ephesians 2:4-5,8
Many thanks to Flyby Promotions at Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing a copy of this book for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.