One of my goals this summer is to READ MORE! I have an entire bookshelf full of books I hope to read. Some I bought and never started. Some I started and never finished. One such book is Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. Obviously (from the title) its a book on parenting. Tonight I read this passage from that book...
"In the same way, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us see our children like he does, with great hope and love. We can ask him to help us be "grace detectives," to be more aware of how the Lord is working in their life than in how they are failing." (p. 136)
Isn't it interesting how the negative seems to stick with us? We remember someone's negative comment far longer and far better than a whole string of positive ones. We fret over the negative news far more than we rest with the positive. And the negative behavior of our children seems to get center stage far more often than the positive behavior. At least for me, that is. When I review my day I remember the meltdown in the grocery store or the six times I had to say "get out of the pool now" before anyone actually came. I think about the extra dirty clothes because someone didn't "sit on the potty and just try" when I told them to. My mind seems to highlight the bad behavior while ignoring the fact that everyone put on their seatbelts without being told. I don't notice that no one ran from me in the parking lot or that no one cried and collapsed into an emotional puddle when all three videos we got from the library said "disc is dirty" when we tried to play them. Its like I miss the good behavior. Or take it for granted.
But I want to look for the positive. I want to be more aware of how the Lord is working and changing and shaping my kids. I want to focus more on how far they've come. Last night Jon was helping me fix dinner and the kids were "cleaning up" in the playroom. I asked one child to do something and she responded immediately (with a positive tone) by saying "ok, I'll do it next". Jon looked at me, set down the knife and said "I'll be right back". Then he went to the child and said "Thank you for responding so nicely. That shows a heart of obedience and maturity. I'm proud of you for doing that."
In that moment he was being a "grace detective". He spotted a rare response and focused on it. He put a magnifying glass over the moment and zeroed in on it, enlarging and drawing attention to the positive.
How often does that happen? I mean, any of that? Its only by God's grace that a sinful child is transformed into a child of God. Its only by God's grace that holiness and obedience are worked into our lives. And its only by God's grace that a sinful parent is changed into a Christ-like example. Its only by God's grace we can parent with patience. Its only by God's grace that we can discipline with love and tenderness.
As God is doing a work of grace in my life, I want to also be aware of His work in my children's lives. I want to be a detective. I want to "set down the knife" and notice the miracle of sanctification as it occurs in the lives of those around me. Especially my children.
Lord, help me today to recognize your work in my life. You have brought me so far, but in no way have I arrived. You alone allow me to learn and grow and mature in my faith. You alone mold me into the image of Christ. As you work this same miracle out in my children's lives HELP ME TO NOTICE! Use me to encourage them. Use me to spur them on towards love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Make me a grace detective.