Friday, August 25, 2006

The Journey

I know I haven't been posting a lot recently.  I've been a little frustrated by my own lack of something meaningful to say.  I read other women's blogs where I learn something, or am inspired, and feel woefully inadequate.

I really thought that parenting would come naturally.  That I would easily slip into my role as mother and wear it like a comfortable pair of shoes for the rest of my life.  But the reality of parenthood has been that my children are real human beings with distinct personalities and needs.  And I have often had no idea what I was doing.

Along my journey I have taken several detours ending up back where I started, with the idea of respecting my children and expecting their respect in return.  I have also embraced the knowledge of authority.  I am not the authority in the home because I'm the biggest, or because I can yell the loudest.  Those things are true now, but they may not always be.  I am the authority because I am the mother.  Strangely, just acknowledging that and stepping into that understanding brought a great deal of peace to our family.

I have embraced gentle discipline, but am still learning new ways to correct, encourage, and lead.  Life is an ebb and flow and not a constant.  So, gentle discipline can look different from day to day.

Now I'm facing another challenge: to step into the grace.  I cannot force my children to be Christians, or to follow the lifestyle I want them to lead.  I can only teach them and guide them.  The rest is up to the Holy Spirit.  I don't want to come to them from a place of legalism either.  I was thinking that the Pearl's materials are a mix of fear and legalism.  You must homeschool your children and do things the way they say, or your children will fall victim to our hedonistic society.  Yet, with the next breath they tell you not to fear.  It's very confusing.

Every day I look into the tiny faces of human beings on their path to adulthood.  I'm so incredibly humbled by the ability to be a part of who they are.  At the same time I fear that it's all moving too quickly, and I want so much to do things well.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't.

Perhaps the first part of graceful parenting is recognizing that I am not perfect, and that I am covered by grace as well.

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