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The Gospel Unravels Parenting - Daily Treasure - May 14

  • 2022 May 14

The Gospel Unravels Parenting

Rachel Craddock, Guest Writer

TODAY’S TREASURE

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).

At the beginning of my motherhood journey, I was very much tangled up in fear and the desire to be perfect. I believed with Michael’s Master of Divinity and my degree in early childhood education, we would be able to be strong enough parents. I leaned on what we knew: if we read enough and knew enough information, we could check off the boxes and raise smart, well-rounded, athletic, good-looking and kind children. I was pregnant with my first son, but also pregnant with the performance-based expectation of raising excellent children. That summer I had a big belly and big dreams of bilingual, brilliant, and perfectly obedient children. I once again was at the crossroads of transition, back at my cisterns and clinging to what I knew and how well I could perform instead of depending on the One who knew me. Perfectionism, approval, and a tangled-up view of strength all were deeply woven into my expectations for myself in motherhood.

I do not like to be found in places outside of my own control—things I cannot control scare me—but parenting has brought me to a place where I find myself out of control and needing to depend on a supernatural work within the hearts of my children, as well as a supernatural work in my own heart, as I learn to trust God as their Story-Weaver and Redeemer. 

When God gave me four children in four years, I could no longer check all the boxes, keep the windows and door frames smudge-free, or get three children to poop in their diapers all at the same time. When I found myself at the end of my control, I also found the end of my patience. I personally needed grace because I couldn’t live up to the expectations I made for myself. I needed grace because I could no longer sustain my children and myself in my performance-based type of mothering. I was exasperated, weary, and at the bottom of another dried-up cistern.

The same cisterns I identified as a thirsty way of living when I first heard the gospel as a new Christian in 2004 were popping up in my motherhood in 2014.  Just when I thought I had identified, repented of, asked for a change in my inner self, and walked in new obedience in one layer of my life, there was always another layer underneath. 

My sin is intimately woven into everything about me. Following Jesus in a gospel-centered life is a constant call to unravel our old selves, daily. There is always another layer of pride and unbelief underneath the surface. Our hearts are always prone to wander back over to the idols which give us false comfort. 

I cognitively know the gospel, but I struggle to rest in His grace alone. This affects my parenting because if I cannot extend grace to myself, I am unable to extend grace to others. For me, I have to be intentional about making space for grace, and I need other friends to help me be accountable for the discipline of making space for grace.

LIFE-GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT

In human strength alone, Christian parents are not enough. But in Jesus, when parents are at the end of themselves, God makes those found in Christ to be enough by His grace and His mercy. In gospel-centered parenting, making space for grace is necessary. In Christ, there is never-ending mercy, patience, self-control, and kindness. You will never reach the end of it. This is hard work. This is seeing our sin as big, and God’s grace and mercy as bigger, and then transferring that same principle onto our children as we model gospel-centered living in our interactions with them. We need to rely on a God whose mercies are new every morning. We need this for our hearts as parents, and for the hearts of our children. 

PRAYER

Lord, I thank you that Your mercies never cease and they are new every morning. Help us lay down our self-centered expectations at the cross, enable us to feel Your grace lavished upon us, and help us extend that grace to the ones we love. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Craddock, a writer and speaker, serves as Regional Advisor of Women's Ministry to Mid-America for the PCA. She desires to encourage women in a relatable way to practically apply the gospel to their daily lives, and have a relationship with the God who unravels the old to make us new in the redemptive blood of Jesus. She and her family are members of North Cincinnati Community Church in Mason, Ohio where her husband serves as lead pastor. You can connect with Rachel on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or on her blog, rachelcraddock.com

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