Day Three and a Christmas Giveaway!


My boys are not normal.

By that, I mean, they are not like other young boys in our community. Our family has a different focus than most of our neighbors.

Confession: I haven’t always been okay with this.

I want the best for them. Like many first-time parents, early on I assumed that what everyone else was doing was best. And sometimes it feels like fitting in is best. I have no guidelines here. The main thing my formative years taught me about this was that I wanted to do things differently.

I made a lot of mistakes.

I searched scripture for answers. Read all the latest Christian parenting books. But even the most respected Christian writers disagreed on how best to apply Biblical wisdom to parenting. I wish someone had told me, “Laura, trust in Him. You’ll figure it out together.”

I found out the hard way. Over tears and battles; self-doubt and prayer.

So, I sit up and take notice when I come across words such as these:

When we turn our eyes away from our culture to the reality of God’s own parenthood, and to the biblical narratives of other mothers and fathers, we find truths about parenting that challenge our contemporary preoccupations. When we look beyond the few select verses we often focus on, we see that parenting is more than five easy steps or three prayer-filled strategies… Above all, Scripture returns us to our highest calling: to love the Lord our God first, before all others.

These are the words of author Leslie Leyland Fields in her book Parenting is Your Highest Calling, and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt.

As I told Leslie in correspondence, “If only! If only I had this book back then.” Oh, how it would have helped me avoid some parental bungling.

Leslie counters the Christianese that leaves so many of us empty.

Myth 6: You represent Jesus to your children.

How often have I heard it? How often have I said it myself?

Dear Lord, help me be Jesus to these children.

As if I could ever.

We do the work of parents, which is to point our children to Jesus…And when my own servant’s heart is emptied, as it often is when I stand among my family’s continual needs, I am reminded that I cannot be Jesus; I can only need Jesus.

Amen to that.

How about this one: Myth 5, You must be following the wrong plan.

This knowledge [that no one knows our children as well as God] frees us to parent like God–not according to a human-sourced formula but according to love and knowledge, not according to ease and efficiency but according to individual needs. Our relationship with each one of our children can be as living and dynamic as our own relationship with our heavenly Father. He loves us freely, irrationally, and according to his nature, and we are to love our children the same, regardless of inconvenience and cost. We can celebrate this freedom an rejoice in God’s inexhaustible creativity, poured out in every child he has given. And poured out upon us as we parent in the footsteps of our Father.

And what about the title myth?

Myth 3: Parenting is your highest calling.

We know better, don’t we? But how often do we unseat the Sovereign from his throne and replace him with our family, as Leslie so aptly states?

If I pursue God first as my highest call and am satisfied in his love, then I am freed not to love my children less but to love them rightly. I am freed from the error of the disciples’ mother, who sought identity and significance through her sons rather than in her role as God’s redeemed daughter. [Matt. 20:20-23]

May I recommend this encouraging book for those new or expectant parents on your Christmas list this season? Even this mother with older children has grown in the reading. This remarkable book repeatedly leads me back to God the Father through my parenting–in both triumphs and blunders.

If you leave a comment on this post between now and next Monday, you may just win a copy of Leslie’s book! Just in time for Christmas! Winner will be announced on Monday, Dec. 14th.

Related posts:

Day one: A Gift Community
Day two: Meet Glynn Young

In the spirit of the holiday season, some of us from our little community are promoting 12 Days of Community this Advent season. Would you like to join us? As the body of Christ we are called to build each other up. Is there someone you would like to introduce us to?

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh Wow Laura! This book sounds like my kind of book. Can you believe that I have 5 children and I have probably on read a couple of books on parenting and I read those when I first starting having kids. I just could not get past so much of the formula based teaching on parenting or any part of living the Christian life for that matter. It is not that they do not have great ideas that work because I believe that they do and they have probably helped many people. But, I just always felt like I was depending on a book instead of the Wisdom of God that lived inside of me. Raising children is definitely not easy and we need each other for ideas and support but God is the only one with all of the answers and He lives in us! I would love to read a book that supports that Truth and reminds us to go to Him to find our way. Great giveaway! 🙂

  2. says

    No need to enter me , but I will add that I learned about Leslie from Ann.
    I just finished reading her book Surviving the Island of Grace, and she is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever come to “know”. She writes about family and children and love and faith and it is all so inspiring.

  3. says

    Wow Laura… it has been a long time since I dropped by your blog. I am so glad that I did… this book sounds awesome.

    Boy have I made so many mistakes in parenting! I think we all have. God is so gracious and merciful… and for that I am thankful.
    lynn

  4. says

    I probably need that book, Laura. There’s nothing wrong with my kids, but there’s something wrong with me. Too often I find myself expecting things from them that just aren’t right. They are just kids after all.

  5. says

    Sounds like a potentially interesting book….I’ve always believed that God gave my husband and I, SPECIFICALLY, the two girls we got. THUS…He would equip us to go with the flow….thankful that He created me with some rebel…I ALWAYS question…any sermon, any theory…with the most important question…”what do You want to speak to me in this?”
    At a baby shower the other day my advice for the new parents was to always listen to those who have gone before them in child rearing but to remember they are a unique family.
    He sent His Son to set us free…..peace, be still.

  6. says

    Sounds like a great book… sure could use it with my little ones. I definitely want to do things different, just don’t know what that looks like. Taking it one day at a time. Thanks, Laura!

  7. says

    another “i wish this was around when i needed it” moment – sounds like a great book – i really like the new blog skin! hope your Thanksgiving holiday was blessed!

  8. says

    Okay, I’m back Laura. While my kids are older… I would love to read this anyway. Because it will be good, and because I want it in my home for others to read whenever and someday.

  9. says

    I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to and believed some of those myths.

    Its really hard to see… I would LOVE this book… whether I win it or not I may just have to buy it! It sounds incredible!

    I love the new look of your blog, by the way. It’s beautiful! (didn’t get the chance to mention it before) 🙂

    Love you,
    Heather

  10. says

    Oh wow. I would love to read this book and hope it’s not too late. There’s so much I want to teach my children and I’m so afraid I’ve messed them up by mistakes I’ve made inadvertently. It sounds like a good book.

    Thanks,
    Julie

  11. says

    I wanted to leave a comment yesterday, but we’ve been kinda busy over the last couple of days, so it had to wait! The book looks like something I ought to read – maybe during the whole marathon nursing that comes after the baby… 😉

  12. says

    I just found your blog for the first time, and I’m going to subscribe! Thanks so much for your thoughts on parenting. It can be hard to wade through all the different viewpoints. You are so right…we need to walk through the parenting journey seeking the Lord about what’s best for our kids!

    I would love to have this book. It looks excellent!

  13. says

    That book sounds amazing! I’ll have to go pick it up…I have a hard time with figuring out how to teach my children about a God I too am learning about. We are also trying to reverse the earlier years of their life when we were distant from them, on top of being the first in our family to pursue God.

    Seems quite overwhelming sometimes 🙂

    I also wanted to thank you for your words of encouragement on my post last week. It means the world to me.

    Blessings,
    Lindsey

  14. says

    Laura, I wanted to comment on your beautiful poem/story. You are so gifted, do you know that?

    (Please don’t enter me for the book, though. I have already raised my kids, I’m sure there are plenty of moms here who could really use it).

    Have a glorious Christmas!

  15. says

    Laura,

    My whole family is not normal. I always tell my son, “with a mom like yours, you are bound to be a little nuts too kiddo!” And ain’t it great?

    Coming to know the Lord while pregnant, I was gathering all the “right” books and reading like mad. A new friend at church said, “God’s Word is all you need.” I agree, but I would add in your recipe too: tears, doubts, battles and (lots of) prayers.

    Blessings.

  16. says

    Honestly, the only parenting book I ever read was Kevin Lehman’s “making your children mind without losing yours.” It completely transformed the way I disciplined (reality discipline); other than that, I never took a class, read a book. I suppose I wanted to, but honestly, I was just trying to keep my head above water as a single mother. Plus, there’s a part of me that has always balked at the idea of having a guide book to parenting. When recently asked to lead a parenting class at our church, I simply replied, “I’m not your gal.”

    I’m just a mom, saved by grace, and not afraid to rely on that grace with every parenting decision, screw up, etc. Thus far, the Lord has helped us all! I’ve often told my boys to send me the therapy bills as they get older and then to move on.

    Don’t get stuck on the blame. Life is too short!

    Whew, for what it’s worth… probably not what you’re looking for but just what strikes me.

    peace~elaine

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