As a college minister I saw them; the kids who grew up in church. Some of them where found running as far away as possible from organized religion. Exhausted and disillusioned, they had stepped down from the hamster wheel. They had realized all their efforts to keep up with becoming a good person were futile, so why not just have fun? Others had kept up with the pace on the wheel, yet I found many of these students to be arrogant, unteachable, and saw no need for discipleship.
Every once in a while there was a gem among the students. A young adult that got it. Grace. Jesus. Discipleship. They had a love for God that was evident in their life. They had a heart for the lost souls in their dorm room. They hungered for the word of God and longed to know how to study it better. Were they perfect? No. But they clung to Christ when they failed.
I long for my children to avoid the hamster wheel. I want them to get that Christ has been perfectly obedient for them and they can rest in what He has done for them. I want to discipline them in love, and guide them towards Jesus. However, when my toddler is screaming and flailing uncontrollably, or I’ve caught my child in a lie, my main thought is “how?”
Give Them Grace, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, offers words of practical help to bridge this gap. How to show the Gospel in the everyday. Giving them boundaries for living; all the while giving them grace.
Here are ten reasons to love Give Them Grace.
- This is not another book full of parenting rules to follow. Instead, it focuses on grace-filled interactions with our children and a greater dependance on the Holy Spirit to guide our parenting.
- It is full of grace-filled truths for the weary parent. God is in control; through our best (yet still insufficient) efforts, as well as through our failures. Only God can bring heart change.
- It brings biblical clarity to our ultimate purpose as parents.
- There are practical sample conversations peppered throughout the book, which help put feet to what this might look like with my own children.
- There is an emphasis on the role of prayer in our parenting, including a look at some biblical models for shaping our prayers.
- It addresses gray areas such as how our kids dress, who we allow them to be friends with, and what movies to let them watch. It provides us with biblical principles to help guide our decisions.
- Give them Grace offers continual reminders that our own walk with the Lord matters. How we relate to Jesus will affect our parenting and ability to give our children grace.
- It tackles the balance of God’s sovereignty and our own role as parents.
- Chapter 4: Jesus Loves All His Little Prodigal and Pharisees. This chapter is amazingly good. It looks at the hearts of both the “good little girl” and the little rebel, and well as the role our own confession of sin has to play in how we parent both types of child.
- There are great application questions at the end of each chapter, which have an emphasis on listening for what the Holy Spirit might be trying to do in our lives.
Give Them Grace helps us look at how to parent, if all we had was the Bible. Only God’s grace can change the hearts of our children. Only through Jesus’ righteousness can our children be right in God’s eyes. When they disobey, point them to Jesus. When they obey, celebrate with them that they were able to obey, because of Jesus.
“Parenting with grace isn’t another set of rules for you to follow. It’s a story that you’re to rejoice in. Share the story with your children. Show them the Savior. Show them Jesus. Dazzle them with his love.”
Disclosure: I am a reviewer for Crossway books. I was given a copy of Give Them Grace in exchange for my review of the book. All opinions here are my own.