Because We Never Stop Being Moms- Book Club- Chapter Two

This week’s chapter is one that kind of brings us back to the early years. Back to when we were just starting to read books about parenting; in chapter two, Newheiser gives us some means God may use to help us achieve two main goals that we must have in mind as we raise our children; principles which are the core foundation that our children will, God willing,  take with them before they walk out of our home’s door.

But before I continue, I would like to take a minute to encourage those moms who are reading along, and know that they have failed to instill these truths in their children’s heart. Maybe you came to an understanding of what true parenting means too late in life, or maybe you were just too busy doing other things that you left aside the essence of a true education in the Lord. It is today the time to repent, to find forgiveness before God, and move on. Move on, to seek restoration with your children and to pray fervently for them. God is full of grace and Grace meets us when and where we need it most. It is never too late, as the authors of this book say, to “Show them Jesus.”

And now a word for moms with younger children, read this and make it your priority to install, by the grace of God, these truths in your child’s heart.

Book Talk

Chapter Two: Before You Walk Out That Door…

Newheiser, starts this chapter clearly stating that respect must always be present in our relationship with our children. It is one of the key factors he says, that enables us to shape their hearts as they mature. When I respect my children’s point of view, when I learn how to listen patiently (as we read in Ch.1), I can build a relationship in which my advice can be taken. How important it is to take note of these words to avoid falling in the trap of thinking that we know best and we never fail to have the perfect advice:

“They [their children] trusted our counsel because we respected them and only spoke absolutes when we could prove our point clearly from the Bible.” (emphasis mine)

Now, the author points out two main goals we must have as we raise our children into maturity (same goals that Paul had for those he was discipling): 1) that they will love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1Tim.1:5 NASB), 2) and they will come to know and to believe the love that God has for us (1 John 4:16). To reach these goals, Newheiser suggests these means:

1. Teach your children the love of God in Jesus Christ. This is, Newheiser asserts,  our primary calling: to show our children Jesus.  And how is it that we are going to show them Jesus now that they are adults? The only way to do this is to live in such a way that we may invite them to see our manner of life and imitate us.

2. Teach your children to fear God and live for His glory.  True, “we cannot make our children wise.” But we can continually pray for them; “pray that the Holy Spirit will use our meager, faltering attempts as means to speak to our children’s hearts.”

3. Show your children how to put others ahead of themselves. How much we need this in the body of Christ!  Men and women who are willing to live putting others first -in all possible practical way- is, without a doubt, a need in the church and in our communities. And there is no other way to teach them how to live like this without first pointing them to Jesus and setting an example ourselves.

4. Help your children how to communicate with wisdom and humility. This is teaching them “the art of avoiding unnecessary offenses though quarreling, and careless or angry speech.” It means also, teaching them how to listen actively and carefully to build each other up, to solve conflicts biblically, and to confront sin with all gentleness.

5. Teach your children God’s design for sex and marriage. This is not trivial, in this age there are many false teachers -especially among our young adults- spreading the lies of egalitarianism.What a gift to teach them from the Bible the different roles God gave men and women.

6. Teach your children to choose their friends carefully. This point reminded me of something Douglas Wilson posted this week: As you choose your friends, remember this — you are choosing what you will be praised for. Amen to that.

7. Let your children practice making the choices of adulthood. By doing this we encourage them into maturity and dependence on God. We want them to take firm steps, not to be crippled.

8. Teach your children the true value of hard work and money. To work hard to earn a living, but not to live to make money is, in my opinion, a perfect way to explain this.

The author finishes this chapter by encouraging us to keep praying and seeking God’s wisdom to be able to discern and to have our hearts enlightened “to correctly say either ‘good-bye’ or ‘please stay.'”

As I finished reading this chapter, I kept thinking that the only way to truly be at peace about our children leaving our home is to trust their are the Lord’s and that He will finish His work in their lives. Trials will come, difficult circumstances will arise, but to know that they have been raised in a covenant home must help strengthen our confidence. When we have raised our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord; when we trust wholeheartedly that our Lord wants to save them and sanctify them, then we can continue to pray and persevere in building a relationship with them in hope. It is Grace, the Grace of God, that draws our children to Him, it is His loving-kindness that leads them to repentance, and His Mercy that welcomes them. Now they are adults, maybe they are not living at home anymore, but we can approach them as brothers and sisters in Christ understanding that we belong one to another because of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Now, Friends, I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter, join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Have a blessed day, sisters!

Becky

6 thoughts on “Because We Never Stop Being Moms- Book Club- Chapter Two

  1. Thank you for hosting this, Becky! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to chime in – parenting has been keeping me busy!

    Enjoying the book so far – the comment above resonates with me. We, too, often joke about having two sets of kids – with nearly a six year gap in between. We are definitely more mellow, hopefully wiser and more mature, and learning from our mistakes for “round 2.” 😉

    One of our biggest challenges has been juggling the different parenting needs of three teens and two young elementary kiddos. The one drains us mentally & emotionally, the other more physically. As a result, much of the time we just plain feel drained. LOL

    Even though our #1's launch into adulthood (we have a 19.5yo son) has been rocky so far, we do see the fruit of our years of pouring the Gospel into him and are thankful that if his life is somewhat messy, at least his heart is tender and kind. 🙂

    I look forward to some practical tips for navigating the years ahead!
    Grace & peace,
    Jennifer from Atlanta

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  2. Greetings to all. Yesterday was a travel day for us, so apologies for jumping in a day late. Becky, thank you for such a thoughtful post on this chapter. I most especially appreciate the grace you communicated so well for moms who may feel that it is too late to begin parenting this way. It is never too late with our Lord's sovereign grace. We can have a tendency to beat ourselves up for not parenting “perfectly” (whatever that is) and then despair that all is lost. Yet, if any of us had an elderly unbeliever move in next door, would we not bother to demonstrate the love of Christ in hopes that the Lord might use us in reaching his or her heart? Would we think it was too late and not keep trying?

    In our family, we say that we have two sets of children and a caboose. We refer to these as the “A” team, the “B” team, and Bonus Child. The “A's” got very different parents than the “B's.” Parents have a lot to learn and learn it on the job. By God's grace, we learned from some mistakes we made with the “A's”. The “B's” got parents who were a little wiser. Bonus Child is getting parents who are even more refined by the grace of God and the lessons learned by our failures. There have been things to overcome from the mistakes we made with the first team, but our God is so much bigger than our mistakes. In His wisdom, He has given us the gift of time to demonstrate to all our children that we can rest in the love of Christ and trust Him to strengthen us where we are weak.
    Moreover, we can see that He gave greater grace to the older ones who got the rookie parents. They still like us! ; – )

    Related to this, I most especially appreciated the comments from the young man on page 30: “We had so much fun as a family! Family fun is not mere frivolity, but a a vital means of building family culture and relationships.” I could not agree with this more. The worst mistakes we make parenting can be softened immensely by having a family culture that is characterized by light-heartedness, laughter, and shared adventures. Having shared inside jokes, memorized quotes from books read together, and fun or meaningful family rituals—especially quirky ones—can go such a long way to building relationships that can withstand the inevitable challenges that come as a result of living in a household full of sinners. A child who has experienced the joy of being part of a family team will feel the weight of broken fellowship more than one who is being dictated to and disrespected. Serving and obeying our Lord is a joy, not a burden, so anything we can do to cultivate that spirit in our homes is good for us and for our kids.

    Wishing you all a day filled with laughter, hugs, and much joy!

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  3. The phrase: “As you choose your friends, remember this — you are choosing what you will be praised for.” Really got me thinking about the kind of friends that I have, who is it that I look for to be my friend, I always try to find somebody who is better than me, to encourage me to grow, in any area. My children need to be able to see how I relate to my friends and it will be a model to follow.
    Great food for thought!

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  4. I have enjoyed reading your posts so far Becky and some of the comments below them. Thank you for sharing and for doing this study. I do not have the book, however, it is a blessing to my heart to read your reflections. May the Lord lead us all in His Truth day by day. How Good HE is!! Hugs to you! Camille

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  5. I appreciate the reminders in this chapter, Becky, to focus on teaching our children to walk in His truths and in the fear of the Lord and to make sure we're preparing them as much as possible for living on their own, for living lives for His glory. And I especially rejoice in the exhortation to cry out to the Lord for wisdom every step of the way. He is faithful and will answer.

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  6. Thanks again for hosting this Becky. Here is some of the text I highlighted for future referencing:

    “As these young adults have faced various challenges and important decisions, their parents have not tried to control or micromanage them but have waited for their children to seek their counsel.”

    “They (the parent) listened patiently and either kindly pointed out the flaws in my thinking or conceded that while perhaps not what they would do, my actions or decisions were acceptable from a bibilical standpoint.”

    “The first nine chapters of Proverbs contain extended appeals to young people to turn away from the foolishness of the world and to commit wholeheartedly to wisdom and to the Lord. Parents cannot make their children wise. We cannot force them to abandon their naivete. What we can do is continually portray the beauties of the Lord, who is our wisdom and righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30). We can make clear the choice between wisdom and foolishness, joy and despair and blessing and heartache.”

    And finally,

    “Before our young adults' speech will be genuinely gracious, their hearts have to be gracious-and this gracious transformation only happens through the power of the Holy Spirit in response to the gracious preaching of the gospel.”

    Just a note about teaching your children hard work – they may grumble and complain while they are young (obviously this sin issue must be dealt with). However, just this week one of our adult sons said how thankful he is that we required him to work hard. He told us that our adult sons are well respected because of their work ethic and although he hated the work at the time (in our case farm work) he is now extremely thankful for our perseverance in this area.

    Looking forward to chapter 3,

    Amy

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