On Raising Gracious Kids

by Edie Wadsworth on March 6, 2013

graciouskids

 

I wrote this post, not because I’ve somehow got it all figured out, but because  even as a veteran mom, I’m still struggling.  I’m right there with you, down in the trenches, waging war, as enemies attack these kids, our family, on every side.  It’s hard because it’s supposed to be hard.  But don’t lose heart.  Our Father will take this struggle and transform it into beautiful.  He is in the business of making all things new.

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We all want to give our children the *best*, whatever that is.  But is it, really?  What is that ‘best’ that we have to offer our children?

It’s a commitment to love them by discipling them.

Disciple means to teach.  We are their first and most important teachers.

As modern Americans, we seem to have lost our way when it comes to our role in our children’s lives.  We love them, of course, but we seem to have forsaken the role of being their primary mentors.  In generations past, children were kept closer to home and were systematically taught the fundamental lessons in life at a much earlier age.  They were expected to participate in the household economy by contributing in a meaningful way to family life.  These days, as long as they’re ‘out of our hair’, we are happy and so are they.  And trust me, as a homeschooler, the same thing can happen regardless of whether they’re with you all the time or not.

 It’s hard to live with kids in a meaningful way.  Some days, I give anything to send mine off somewhere, anywhere.

But the bottom line is this:  parenting with intention is so difficult.  Teaching your children how to live is a daunting task.   It’s much easier to be a passive spectator and blame someone else for what’s wrong in our kids and families.  Teaching and mentoring and discipling them well is a nearly impossible task.  But the alternative is terrifying.   Undisciplined, untrained, unloving and overindulged  kids become adults.  Welcome to every Walmart in America.

We’re a mess.

And our only hope is to repent.  

We must admit that we haven’t been the parents we should have been.  We’ve been lazy and apathetic.  Or we’ve been too harsh and then overindulgent out of guilt.  We have chosen our own comfort and our own pleasure at the expense of their proper training.

The next time your child does something you hate—and I know, because it happens to me all the time—-take a careful look.  It’s probably some variation of your own sin and poor behavior.

And you hate it in them because you loathe it in yourself.  But unless you’re willing to do the hard thing and deal with your very own sin and struggle, you will never rightly deal with theirs.

You’ll minimize them, or ignore them or worse yet, you’ll overreact out of anger toward them.

Our children are  like small mirrors that let us see plainly into our own corrupt hearts.  

It’s God’s way of tenderly showing us our sin in a way that just might bring us to repentance.

But we are children of Adam and we’re stubborn and hard-hearted.  We don’t give up easy and not usually without a fight.  So, why are we surprised to see the same seed-bed of rebellion in our kids?  They have learned it from the masters—-you and I and every other adult in their lives.

The only answer I can find here is Christ.  

We surrender to Him all our tired excuses, all our defenses, all our stubborn anger and rebellion and we beg Him to replace our stone heart with flesh.

 We beg Him to make US over first.  

Then, we will be able to rightly pray for and teach our children about this cycle of repentance that we all must learn to live in, daily.

I wish there were a formula for raising gracious, hospitable and kind children.  The truth is—-the path is ancient and well-worn but it’s not easy.  And it will require everything from you—the kind of sacrificial love  that only comes from the supernatural grace of Christ.  It looks like dying to self and rising to walk in His mercy and grace.  And they will watch that cycle of dying and rising, of sin and repentance, and they will learn something beautiful about the rhythm of life as a child of God.


When they see Him dig out your rebellion and anger and false humility, they will know that this Christ that we serve is not a moralist or a goody two shoes or an angry God, out to get them.

They will see the living God, in the flesh of their parents.  

His love will draw them and woo them and His powerful Word will transform them.

We want cheap, superficial, behavior modification for our children.  Christ wants deep abiding peace and hope for them.  We want little moralists who will always choose the politically correct path.  Christ wants to circumcise their hearts and make them true disciples.  We want them to fit in.  He died to set them apart.

We think we love them.  He really does.

And He loves them so much that He is not willing to leave them as He found them.  He’s so intentional about this transformation that He doesn’t even leave it to us.  He  lived the sinless life, walked the narrow way, lived perfectly hospitable in their stead.   And in ours.  So that, ultimately, we have nothing left to do.  We are free, now, to love our neighbor, because everything we need has been answered in Christ.

And when we learn to live from this gift,  from this bounty, the teaching will become natural.  Because we’ll be giving to them from the surplus of love and joy in our own hearts.

And when we fail in this task—and yes,  I said WHEN we fail, we seek refuge in the cycle of dying and rising, of sinning and repenting—-to walk in newness of life.  And those whom God has given to us to walk beside us will smile—not because they see perfect parents, but because they finally see the key to  living in peace with others.  And that key is forgiveness.

The forgiveness won for us on the cross and delivered to us in Word and Sacrament.

So, how do you raise hospitable children?

You teach. 

You teach them what you are learning by living a transparent life in front of them.

Jesus said, “Go make disciples, by baptizing and teaching.” 

 You teach them about Him.  You teach the faith, once delivered to the saints.  Give them His Word and bring them regularly to the Lord’s table, where they feast on the very Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world—-even the sins of children and parents.

The thing about parenting that scares me to death is that our children usually  turn out like us.

Lord, have mercy.


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 What has been your most difficult struggle as a parent?  Do you have good role models or do you feel like you’re winging it on your own? What’s your single best piece of advice for new parents?
I’m linking with Kelly and her series on parenting!
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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nikola March 6, 2013 at 8:05 am

Thanks, needed this today!

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2 Aimee March 6, 2013 at 8:15 am

I love loved your e-book. I read the first few pages and thought, “she sounds like she’s Lutheran!” And then later I realized you are! We began attending a wonderful Lutheran church 6 months ago…so rich and life-changing after a lifetime in non-denominational churches. The part that I loved the most in your book is the realization of the Lord’s model of hospitality with the Last Supper and His invitation now to all for weekly communion. That really really struck me. I have been a season of hospitality-neglect for various reasons (baby #6, a church move, funk-land), and stepped out in faith this past weekend to have two couples over for dinner…and a young mom over for coffee one morning. Thank you for the inspiration and it’s such a privilege to find your voice on Lutheranism.

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3 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:43 am

Oh, how cool, Aimee!! Surely you listen to Issue, etc? You should if you don’t!!
I love so much how our church is so Christ-centered. It’s hard to find that these days.
And yes, there’s so much depth and richness in Communion.
I’m in awe every Sunday.
Love and grace,
edie

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4 Heather March 6, 2013 at 8:16 am

Totally true. Ive noticed my worst behavior has been mirrored by ky kids and it’s not a pretty sight. Parenting makes me thankful for Christ and God’s mercy in a whole new way…

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5 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:41 am

yes, me too, Heather!!
loves :)

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6 Lisa Christian March 6, 2013 at 8:53 am

Thank you for writing and proclaiming the gospel while being honest about the struggles of life. I came to Christ in college and was amazed at all I was learning. However, my life grew divided between secular and spiritual. My major was broad (communications) and not very practical. When I had children, my jobs did not justify me working and sending them to daycare. It was too expensive. God is gracious as I began to see motherhood as a wonderful and refining career. He has given me a holistic understanding that all life is spiritual…diapers, grocercies, and t-ball games. He has given me a desire to homeschool… I am in the early stages and feel inadequate daily. Other mothers ahead of me say this feeling never really goes away and points us to Christ. I appreciate reading your blog and even find comfort in your satisfaction of leaving a financially secure career for a season to embrace your calling at “home.” Thank you for your testimony.

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7 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:46 am

So glad you’re here, Lisa!!
Wishing you grace as you embrace the most difficult calling of all!!
xoxo,
edie

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8 Angela March 6, 2013 at 8:54 am

Edie, you are SO very right! We had a series at church a few months ago on parenting and this is exactly what they talked about. How we can’t just tell them what to do or be their “cheerleaders” but we have to DISCIPLE them. Let them walk WITH us. Watch how we make mistakes and know that HE is gracious and just to forgive us.
Thank you for sharing, friend!
Hugs,
Angela

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9 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:40 am

i know and that teaching is so blimey hard!!
wish you were going to Blissdom this year, we’ll miss you.
xoxo

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10 Lindsay March 6, 2013 at 9:01 am

I am not a parent yet, but our church focuses so much on parenthood that I feel like I have a lot in my head about how to parent (though when we actually have our first child, I’m sure it’ll all go out the window!). I LOVE how you’ve put all of this here. I’ve been talking recently with some friends about exactly what you said about previous generations. Is really is amazing to me how differently children are raised today. Love that you are tackling this and sharing your heart!

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11 Jennifer March 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

“Our children are like small mirrors that let us see plainly into our own corrupt hearts.” — And if that isn’t enough to strike fear in the hearts of mothers and fathers everywhere, nothing will! You’re teaching your own, but you’re teaching US in so many ways. He’s working through you, friend. Thank you for saying the hard things!

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12 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:39 am

thank you, sweet Jennifer!!
xoxo

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13 ECD March 6, 2013 at 9:49 am

I’m not a parent, but as a daughter what you say really resonate. I look like my mother but have many of the same behavior traits of my father which is not a bad thing. He has an outgoing and welcoming demeanor, is sensitive and thoughtful. But there are also traits about himself that he doesn’t like, and I have some of those too. When I exhibit those I can see sense him bristle and that hurts because I take it personally. It’s taken a long time but I now know that it is personal, not to me but to him. Understanding that his bristle is more a reaction to the reflection of himself, and less about something that I’ve done, is slowly helping me see him and our relationship in a more generous light.

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14 Sonya Barker ~At Home with The Barkers March 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

Thank you for this! I am a stay at home mom of 2 (13 and 14) and although it is very hard it is beautifully rewarding. I learned very early on in parenthood that I didn’t have to go looking for a ministry to pursue, GOD gave me one! My husband and children are HIS first purpose for my life. Having a heart for hospitality for them first and everyone else second brings me great joy. I struggle too with hoping they don’t turn out like me but then I realize that through Jesus I have been saved and changed! So my advice would be to always remember…We serve a gracious and forgiving GOD who knows we aren’t perfect. We can never bring HIM glory by condemning ourselves. HE loves our children more than we do yet HE gave them to us anyway.

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15 Heather March 6, 2013 at 10:06 am

Edie, if our children do turn out like us the yours are bound to make the world a better place. As far as them repeating the behaviors we hate in ourselves I can not for the life of me imagine what yours would be!

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16 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:38 am

Oh, honey!! Just spend a day with us and it will be painfully obvious!!
Love you and thank you for the encouragement!
xoxo

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17 Ruth March 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

Thank you so much! Yesterday was a bear of day with my oldest, we are newly learning to navigate the teenage years. It’s so encouraging to have someone else say that parenting intentionally is hard. However, I really needed to be told/reminded that it’s partially because it shines a spotlight on own sins.

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18 Jimmye March 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

Love you Edie. I learn everyday and you help me to see deeper into myself. Being a parent and now a Grandparent raising a beautiful Granddaughter has not been an easy task for me, but I must be doing something right because she is a Magnificent Young Lady. I cherish her more everyday and you help keep me focused on the true important things in my life and hers.

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19 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:37 am

Love you, Ms. Jimmye!
So proud of you and all you do for that Jenna!
xoxo,
edie

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20 The 1st of May March 6, 2013 at 11:33 am

Yes, Yes, YES! You are spot on here!

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21 sandy toe March 6, 2013 at 11:48 am

So very true about a mirror! Everything I don’t like about myself…my kids copy! WHY???? Great post..so true. It really is a sacrifice and simply put…it’s hard! Pray and turning to the Lord daily is our only true strength!

Sandy Toes

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22 Nicole March 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

Edie,
Thank you once again for your beautiful words. They always seem to be so timely and relevant to my life! On a day where I’m feeling overwhelmed by the demands of family and work, your words were just what I needed to help me focus on what really matters!
I’d love to do an e-book give away on my blog! I don’t get enough blog traffic to warrant a free e-book (though I’ll be sure to purchase one), I’d know that my friends and readers would certainly benefit by learning about you, your e-book, and blog. I’d love to share your e-book and blog with my readers, if you’d like!
Blessings! Nicole

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23 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:36 am

I would be honored for you to do it, Nicole! I’ll send you a copy today.
Thank you so much for sweet encouragement!
xoxo

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24 Nicole March 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I can’t wait to share your wonderful words of wisdom with my friends and readers! Since I’m still relatively new to blogging (and actually have never held a give-away on my blog) I wondered if there was a specific way to share info about your e-book. Perhaps post the photo of your “31 Days …” cover and link to your blog??? Blessings! Nicole

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25 Colette March 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Sweet Edie this is painfully beautiful. The last sentence and Lord, have mercy… I mean for real!! I love that you invite us to share. Most difficult struggle as a parent? For me, letting that flesh die die die and standing still while God molds me. Letting go of the past (in my mind and soul) and embracing and walking in the truth of who He has designed me to be so I can love them the way He wants me to love them. Best advice as a parent to other parents or soon-to-be parents? TRUST in Him. Be accountable. SHOW UP. LISTEN. LOVE then love more. As a blended family my true prayer: God give me YOUR eyes and YOUR heart for all of our kids. For the playmates. For the little screamers in the store when I’ve stolen away for 30 minutes of errands and just.want.some.quiet. God help me in my selfishness. Help us all. I feel like I’ve been to small group today, love and blessings to everyone! Ultimately, Lord change me!! Thank you, Edie, for this most intimate post.

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26 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:34 am

beautiful, Colette.
thank you.
and yes, most sincerely, “Lord, have mercy.”
xoxo

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27 TaxidermyWorms March 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm

“You teach them what you are learning by living a transparent life in front of them.” YES! This! 100% This!

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28 Jenn A March 6, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I love being challenged and blessed by the way you write the truth about living the gospel. How I need God’s grace for parenting my children!

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29 tara lowry March 6, 2013 at 6:38 pm

this post sure erupts all kinds of feelings in me.
I’m sure I’m not alone.
you hit on my biggest fear in parenting when you said that the scariest part is that they all turn out like us.

I look at the chapter in Corinthians on LOVE and I see what an epic fail I am.
I know we all are desperate and in need…hence our great need for Jesus, the Savior.
It’s not that I’m trying to self-loathe, but I seriously apologize many times a day for each and every sentence in that scripture.

My parents are precious, but I wasn’t “raised up in the admonition of the Lord.”
Somehow, by the grace of God, I made it and know God deeply BECAUSE of some of their mistakes. He truly works in all things.
Why can’t I believe this for myself? My kids will be okay, despite my mistakes.

love your heart..every word is true.
nothing has ever turned me inside out like parenting.

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30 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:33 am

you are such a blessing, sweet friend.
thank you.
xoxo

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31 darci haney March 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Thank you for sharing this!!! Such a sweet reminder to have grace with my little one, because God has lavishly poured His grace on me!!

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32 Shepea March 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with you, but Edie, what did you mean by the statement “Undisciplined, untrained, unloving and overindulged kids become adults. Welcome to every Walmart in America.” I must be missing something by that turn of phrase…

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33 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:32 am

I was just using Walmart to mean any crowded public place, where human behavior is on display.
I could have easily said every country club in America.
We are broken and so are our kids.
Examples are everywhere we turn.
Hope that makes sense.
Thanks for reading!
:))
edie

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34 Shepea March 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Makes sense now. I think I had just read your previous post with the ribbon/ruffle cake and my brain was momentarily unable to process written language. :) I am planning to make your recipe for an upcoming baby shower I am hosting. Pink ruffles are perfect for a baby girl!

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35 Kerri March 6, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Beautifully written! Every day I tell my girls: “mommy loves you, daddy loves you and Jesus loves you.” I am very blessed that while my girls are only 3 and 5, they have a relationship with God!

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36 Kimberly March 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

I am so thrilled to see that you are supporting building wells in Uganda. I am headed there in July to move children into a home that my mom has built by baking banana bread ( http://jaajabarbshomeofangels.blogspot.com ). You have a huge heart and I loved seeing you on video on Jeanne’s site today. You are more inspiring that I had already thought~
Have a wonderful rest of your week,
K.

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37 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:30 am

That is so cool, Kimberly!!
And thank you, for the sweetness. Made my day.
xoxo,
edie

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38 the farmer's wife March 6, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Great article Edie.

My #1 piece of advice is to teach your children first to accept and obey authority. If they accept one’s authority as parent, I believe it leaves them more open and primed for accepting God’ authority. Acceptance and obedience to God’s authority is ultimately what their salvation is hinging on.

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39 RD Shugart March 6, 2013 at 9:35 pm

It’s always a struggle when we see our fleshly desires & sin rear it’s ugly head in our children. Love this post – I have found being real about my weaknesses & failures actually builds trust among us. Thank you for your thoughts!

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40 Marmee March 6, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I have learned that when I experience discomfort whether it be from personality conflicts, fatigue, inexperience, nievaity or just plain ole sin it is the Holy Spirit’s cue for me to lean in, not run away.
Leaning into my children when they disappoint and/or make poor choices has revolutionized our home & me.
I no long run, hide, & whine about how hard life with children is. I now lean in & listen to them & show them I love them (this includes discipline).
God has used my children to teach me a thing or 2.

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41 edie March 7, 2013 at 7:29 am

Love this so much.
Thank you for sharing.
xoxo

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42 Kathy March 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm

You’ve done it again. Convicting yet so encouraging and so so true. Thank you friend.

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43 Laura @ BTB March 7, 2013 at 9:20 am

Little mirrors. Thanks Edie. Great article. Need to grab the e-book!
I have a challenging child that I wonder sometimes, how could he be possibly mirroring me? or my husband, but even in the smallest ways, when I relinguish my frustration over his ‘challenging’ behavior, and just be a happier more loving person, in light of difficult situations, I notice he is more loving. It seems obvious. But it’s those moments when you want to walk away as a parent that I hear Dory the fish say ‘just keep swimming’, and forget all the parenting books I’ve read, and just pretend I have short term memory. Holding no wrongs, like Tara said in 1 Cor 13. I have to let it go, even when I’m trying to hold him accountable. I’m now a big believer that the persuaded and bribed good behavior is short term. No matter what they are doing now, what they are seeing in me as the parent will most likely have the greatest effect. Scary, but not so when I am honest with them. That I too am flawed, a child before God. Trusting in His mercy to wash me continually also. I thought all this was true with first child, now I have to actually walk it with 2nd. Doing the tough parenting, of correcting in love, with kindness, meekness, humility is the tough stuff.
Thanks again Edie.

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44 Lisa D.B. Taylor March 7, 2013 at 11:30 am

I needed this today as well! Though I’ve always hsed my 5 (oldest now a senior at the university) we still do have our days….. I’m hosting a twice monthly co-op at my house today (as I do twice a month ) for 10, 9 & 10 year old boys. It can be a challenge -especially as I’ve had pneumonia for the last month! But it’ll turn out ok :-)
Edie I’ve loved your blog for many years now – after “discovering it” following a dreadfully difficult move. I swear some days it helped save what little sanity I had left when I was overwhelmed by a still unfinished house, misplaced items, boxes, and my own tears! :-)
I’d also love to host an ebook give away for your book at my blog! I know my readers would love it.
Blessings!

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45 SarahK March 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Edie, I have been a subscriber to your blog for a couple of years now… but am not an avid commenter. I have shared your post to my facebook friends and wanted to tell you also what a blessing your words were for me today. Here is what I said with sharing your link:

“Amidst many a talking head, this is by far one of the best blog posts on raising kids… convicting and compelling. Edie got it right.”

Thank you for sharing your wisdom. You have helped lift my eyes (and my children) to Jesus.

~Sarah

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46 Beatle55 March 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Wonderful blogpost! This goes hand-in-hand with a book that I’m currently reading, and would HIGHLY recommend to all parents – “Hold On to Your Kids” by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., and Gabor Mate, M.D.

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47 Tanda March 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Amen Edie! LOVE this!! Going to pass it along!

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48 Michelle March 8, 2013 at 12:07 am

Thank you for this today! This has got to be one of the hardest parts of parenting. It was a reminder that I needed, raising my teen daughter is a struggle and this is right on… Good Christian parents are hard to find these days. We need to stick together!!!

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49 Jennifer from Alabama March 8, 2013 at 9:58 am

As a new parent and (somewhat) newly-wed the best advise I could ever give a young person is to choose your spouse wisely. Do not choose someone for you only. Instead of choosing a person who is fun, keeps your interest or who is physically attractive at this time in your life, focus on what you will need 5, 10 and 50 years from now. Choose a father for your future children. Choose a partner in faith as your mate. Choose someone willing and excited to lead your family in all ways that a man should. If you are a man, choose a woman who is disciplined and happy to follow you as the leader of the family. That is the basis of a family, and it is all so much more difficult when that first step is taken incorrectly.

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50 Amy Avery March 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Hello friend! I have poured over this post several times and shared it with my husband too. We both found it very true and feel the same struggles as many others have expressed. As a child educator, I whole heartedly believe that parents are their children’s first and best teachers. I preached this to every parent that I had a parent teacher conference with during the years that I formorally taught school, and I continue to try to enstill this in the hearts of the parents of the children with whom I am privledged to teach in my work in children’s ministries. I will say that when I became a parent I was brought to my knees in the difficulty in being your own child’s teacher. It tests and refines every thing about you. In a traditional classroom setting, you can hide your personal flaws behind the guise of your profession as a liscened teacher. There is an invisible cloak that allows you to teach and command respect in a very acceptable and kind way without having to reveal the ugly that could surfice on a more personal level. In the home, however, the role of teacher is one in which all of your personal flaws are shouted right in your face almost 24/7. I use to say I could get a classroom of 25 to settle down with just one look but could not get my own child to pay attention to my command even with the most persuasive of teaching. What I have come to learn in parenting is not only is the teaching part the hardest thing I have ever done, it is the sole thing that has broken down every pretense I have ever erected to protect myself from the world. What I have learned too is how very imperfect I truly am and that I am even more grateful now than ever for God’s grace that he freely gives me through his perfect love day after day, moment by moment. My faith is tested through my children as I breath prayers sometimes for God to give me HIS strenght to bare the weight of patience and love. It sometime feels unbarable, but God reminds me that his love for me is so much greater than any pain or suffering I may have to endure in order to love and teach my children. They are worth it and I will always be grateful for the gift of my children. Will they wrestle with their own flaws as adults despite my efforts to parent, teach and love them as best I can? Yes. It is what it means to be human. It is also what allows us the gift of a personal and total dependendant realationship with God. If we were all perfect and wonderful teachers we would not need God and the grace and love he gives to each one of us so freely. I am thankful for my need of God and all that he teaches me through my very own children.It is my hope for my children and my efforts of teaching and loving them that they will come to know God, build a personal realtionship with him and continue to trust in and have faith in him throughout their lifetimes.

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51 Brandy March 9, 2013 at 2:38 am

Thank you so much for this post! Loved it!! I just started my blog and yours has given me such inspiration. I’d love to do a free e-book giveaway to bring readers to my blog and to share your wonderful advice and encouragement. Thank you!

Brandy
faithfullydevoted.net

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52 Angie March 9, 2013 at 11:11 am

Edie, you slayed me with this one. Thanks!

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53 Emily Morrice March 9, 2013 at 6:23 pm

oh Edie! this post was salve to my soul tonight, just minutes after tucking my two toddlers in and patting my pregnant belly as I read. Your words were the truth I know so well (((in my head!))) but that I needed to hear again and again, preached to my heart. I love basically every word that you wisely wrote – thank you for teaching us young moms from your long path of wisdom and grace.

Seriously. How hard is it some days to be INTENTIONAL? But isn’t the father’s love so perfectly displayed in his intentionality towards us? I’m convicted but not guilted and encouraged to press on. Thanks sister!

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54 Kristi March 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Thank you for this post! I’m learning to trust my Heavenly Father for everything! As I travel down roads that are unfamiliar and downright scary some days, He illuminates the path-sometimes with just a hint of light. My husband and I after three daughters, 25,23, and 17, find ourselves in boy world with our adopted 17 year old Ukrainian (Russian speaking) son. He’s been in our family for a year and a half and I find that things that I had years to teach and model to the girls-faith, working hard, caring for others,etc. have to be taught to our son as well, but we don’t have the luxury of years this time around! I am trusting that the God who called us to do this will fill in the gaps.

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55 Katie March 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm

What a great post and just what I needed to read today. I have a challenging 3year old boy and have had a terrible day. Reading your post reminded me that what upsets me the most about his behaviour is that I know he has my worst traits and that although I think I’m teaching him how to behave every so often when I get frustrated and angry I don’t show him the right way to behave. Your post has made me look at myself again and given me the strength to start afresh tomorrow after a day of tears. Thanks you. I love your blog and enjoy reading about your Southern .lifestyle in England!!
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56 Kirsten March 12, 2013 at 11:44 am

Loved these words. Thank you for sharing them.

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57 Jennifer March 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm

This post is so true and spot on. And the cool thing is, it applies to all people you co-exist with in any meaningful way: work family, church family, school family. We get back what we give out, behaviors and attitude included.

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58 The Iowa Farmer's Wife March 17, 2013 at 10:43 pm

My sister sent this post my way and I’m so glad she shared it with me. Reading this has given me hope and guidance and I so appreciate that! My kids are only 3 and 18 mos, but I already see myself in so much that my daughter does. Thank you again for sharing this beautiful post.

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59 LaVonne April 3, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Edie, I love this post. I have no idea what I am doing most of the time with these kids. But I do know that I want them to love Christ and by my example, see Christ in me.

I am a blogger and would love to review and giveaway your eBook if that option is still available.

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60 Courtney DeFeo September 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

edie. can you hear from orlando SCREAMING AMEN!!!! yes ma’am!!! thank you thank you for writing this. thank you for linking up with us for this build em up topic and saying some of the bold statements i was afraid to say. i look up to you so very much and i’m so excited to hear you echo some of the very desires of my heart. thanks again.

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61 Edie Wadsworth September 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm

What lovely encouragement, Courtney, and thank you for the series. We mommas need each other.
xoxo,
edie

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62 The Hill Hangout September 5, 2013 at 9:59 pm

“In the evening of life we shall be judged on love, and not one of us is going to come off very well, and were it not for my absolute faith in the loving forgiveness of my Lord I could not call on Him to come.” (Madeleine L’Engle) It’s all His grace and love, and we merely have to show them what He’s done for us and what He’s done for them. Seems simple enough, but gosh, to live it out is hard. My instinct is to show them that Mama has is together.

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63 Tessa W September 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Thank you for this post. My kids and I had a beautifully peaceful day after having a couple of really stressful (i.e. negative attitudes abounding) weeks. They truly do reflect our sin and attitudes. Another wonderful reminder that I can’t change anyone else but I CAN change myself and my own attitudes and behaviours. Given me some good stuff to ponder on.

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64 Amy M September 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I just love this. Thanks for putting into words what has been on my mind.

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65 Jen Stults September 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm

I just found your blog via pinterest. This is gospel truth right here!! It’s a message God’s been delivering to my heart ever since the birth of our middle child, our strong-willed bundle of crazy energy, who is so like his mama, even in ways I’d like to deny. :) I’m so thankful that our Father God created us to be in relationship with others in this life. We learn so much from them about our very selves. Thanks for this honest look at parenting! I’m sharing with my readers! :)
Jen

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66 Kate October 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Love your heart. Bless you, as you seek Jesus and love on your precious family!

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67 Sharon Piatt January 8, 2014 at 11:54 pm

There is so much truth to this post. It is our responsibility to disciple our children. I am working on writing a book on this… I instantly felt as if I was chatting over coffee (strong, of course) with a friend as I read this.

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68 Edie Wadsworth January 10, 2014 at 6:08 am

So awesome, Sharon!!

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69 Kara June 9, 2014 at 2:52 am

Ugh! This has definitely been my struggle for the day – intentional parenting. My difficulty is in finding the balance between righteous anger and just plain going overboard. Die to self has been my chant as of late…

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70 Carolee June 9, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Edie ~ it never ceases to amaze me how God gives us exactly what we need at exactly the right time! Thank you so much for reminding me that mirroring Christ as closely as possible is the best hope of seeing real changes in our children. I SO needed this reminder today! Thanks again ~

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