Far From Perfect…

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I’m far from perfect, but I am forgiven and deeply loved.

Being a mom reminds me of this when my kids get in trouble. My oldest daughter got in trouble last week and is grounded this weekend because of it. Downside of having a grounded kid and being a single mom, other than the obvious disappointment in her behavior, is that all our plans were cancelled. This weekend we are all kind of grounded. Upside is that now all our closets are organized!

Her dad and I discussed her punishment with each other and with her. We are standing firm and united in dealing with this situation and taking it seriously. Which is good….and hard! Even though discipline doesn’t come naturally to me, I have to work on it and remain firm because her behavior made me very sad. The nurturing part of parenting comes a lot easier to me. Regardless, this needs to be addressed and followed through with. And we are…

When our kids get in trouble it reminds me of how much God loves us regardless of our behavior. He forgives us and loves us no matter what, but there are still consequences for our choices. Our God is a God of so much grace and love that He does discipline us. His discipline is why so many turn away, but it is because He loves us that He does so. A parent who disciplines their child, loves their child and wants them to learn from it. Discipline isn’t easy! Parenting isn’t easy! It’s hard on us all. But, worth it. Just like God’s discipline. He disciplines us because He loves us enough to. And wants to teach us through it.

My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12 (NLT)

Being a parent opens our eyes to many acts of love. Providing, comforting, teaching, nurturing, playing, laughing, listening, forgiving, reminding, transporting, helping, clothing, feeding, AND disciplining are all ways we show love to our children. As does God, only better. He is the perfect Parent. And, because He is perfect and I am far from it, I am forever thankful that He is helping me raise my girls. I need Him every day.

Just like my love hasn’t changed for my daughter because of what she did, His love never wavers for us. He loves us before, after, and during our mess ups. Our behavior doesn’t dictate God’s love for us. His love changes our behavior. When we KNOW He loves us, we don’t want to hurt Him. The more we know Him, the more we are aware of what hurts His heart. We don’t like to hurt those who love us and He loves us the most. This is what changes our behavior. His forgiveness. His grace. His love.

Embrace Grace

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Extending grace and forgiveness to others can be extremely difficult when we feel rejected, misunderstood, or offended. As tough as that is, I admit I sometimes have an even harder time extending it to myself. When I lose my patience with my girls, say something I wish I hadn’t, refrain from saying something that I should have, or just plain drop the ball, the most important thing I need to do is embrace grace.

The devil loves to watch us squirm in guilt for our behavior. Broken records of criticisms in our pasts can wreak havoc on our minds if we don’t remember to embrace grace. I was raised in the church, but embracing grace is a relatively new concept for me. It helps me breathe easier whenever I remember to do it. It takes an enormous amount of pressure off when we remember that God knows our flaws and weaknesses and loves us anyway. That’s grace.

We are finishing up a women’s Bible study called “Believing God” by Beth Moore. There’s a five statement pledge in this study that we repeat together every week. 1) God is who He says He is, 2) God can do what He says He can do, 3) I am who God says I am. 4) I can do all things through Christ, 5) God’s word is alive and active in me. All so awesome! I love each and every one of them and if we TRULY believe them all we are well on our way to victory. But, I can say, the one we agreed is the toughest to believe is #3. I AM who God says I am. As women, we just feel like we fall short. We struggle with this one, I know I do. Maybe because we were told differently growing up, treated less than, let down, put down, used, whatever the reason….the devil loves to prey on us and our sense of worth. Bottom line is: God says we are worth dying for and He did just that.

If anyone makes you feel inferior, criticizes your personality, strengths, or weaknesses, they are not viewing you as God does. We are who God says we are and that is a beautiful thing. Not one of us is perfect, but we are all loved by a God who is. If He can lavish us with His perfect grace, we need to remember to give ourselves a drop or two when we stumble. Let’s see ourselves and each other as He does, children worth dying for.