Monday, September 10, 2012

Remember Grace


For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. – Ephesians 2:8

I woke up a few days ago feeling the intense weight of condemnation. It was a vague, unsettling feeling that I could have done better for my children. Accusations clobbered me:
  • You’re selfish.
  • You didn’t give the kids enough fun experiences when they were small.
  • You should have gone swimming with them instead of sitting by the pool reading.
  • Remember that time you yelled at them at the store? What were you thinking?!
  • You’re ruining their lives.



It’s happened before. My friends encourage me to take an objective look at my life. They renew my perspective. “You’re doing a great job!” they say. Still, I know that at times I have failed my kids, so the accusations gain a foothold in my soul.

Note the effect: When I accept accusations, I become ineffective. I lose my joy. I snap at my kids, inviting more guilt. I put on the heavy yoke of religious law-keeping, trying to be the perfect mom. My children become unhappy, even oppressed. It’s not a pretty sight.

I suspect I’m not the only one. Our fast-paced culture promotes too much activity, and this hectic lifestyle drains our energy, leaving us prone to strained relationships and the attendant guilt. We don’t realize that relief is only a prayer away.

As I reached out to God, I remembered that honesty is foundational to the Christian life. Being a sinner is not the problem. The problem is trying to hide it. Some accusations are simply lies; but some carry the sting of partial truth. Confession and forgiveness robs them of their power. We can confidently respond, “Yes, I failed there. It’s forgiven, and I’m not looking back. By grace, I am not that person anymore. I have a new identity – so back off!”

The effects of grace are peace. As God poured grace onto my trigger-happy conscience, my joy returned. My children and I had a peaceful, happy day, lived on the foundation of unconditional love.

We learned in church yesterday that spiritual warfare is fought in the mind. It’s not about praying weird incantations “against the enemy,” or marking crosses on the doorframe with oil, or the other wacky things Christians do when they forget Biblical truth. It’s about remembering our redemption, and who we are because of God’s forgiveness and renewal. It’s about grace.



25 comments:

  1. This was so beautiful, full of truth and encouraging, Lisa. Thank you. We can never hear too often our need to look away from ourselves and to Christ, where in addition to finding truth, healing and living water, we also find who we are in Him as a result of that. Yes - forgiven and set free to be His workmanship ever growing in grace and maturity from glory to glory. Not as instant as the wand at salvation that makes us perfect and holy at once - but then there is more glory to God when our weakness is made strong in Him.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I know, right! It's so easy to forget our need for Christ in everything. He is the author and finisher of our faith - it can't be done apart from him. thanks for stopping by!

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  2. So beautiful! I find I get way too hard on myself expecting perfection when perfection isn't even an option! No one is perfect. We all fall short, that's why we need God and our Savior. We need to remind ourselves to focus on what we have done right, and move forward. I've provided all the needs my kids have. They KNOW they are loved, they are clothed, they are fed and yes they are even spoiled on occasions. I'm not doing too bad. Could I be better? Yes, but that is what I strive for, not what I beat myself up about because I haven't reached it yet.

    Stay strong and remember you are a great mom.

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    1. Thanks, Amber. It is wonderful to know that we are not alone in this type of struggle, huh? Blessings to you and yours!

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  3. I'm encouraged by other moms who remind me that they struggle with the same doubts I do. The enemy sneaks in trying to undermine us. When we share that we doubt and must return to God again and again, the condemnation from satan lessens. I'm thankful for honesty among Christian parents.

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    1. So true, Karen! I always feel so much peace when I am honest with God and others. The enemy is very sneaky, and we need each other.
      Blessings!

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  4. Thank you for this post Susanna. I beat myself up all the time because my son is an only child he is seven and I tell myself I have time to make a better difference then I look back and wish I had done such and such. Though I have a brother of my own I remember the brief period of feeling lonely before he was born and I just don't want my son to ever feel that way. It's a great reminder that God didn't design me to be a failure. He blesses me everyday to be the best that I can be.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Kenya! You sound like a wonderful mom; you are so concerned for your son's well-being. If it helps, I've heard that only children do really well. They have the advantage of focused attention and sometimes more opportunities than children with siblings. I'm sure you're doing a fantastic job! Don't beat yourself up, OK? We can help each other. : )

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  5. Ooops "Lisa". You'll have to tell me what "Susanna's Apron" means ;-)

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    1. ha ha! No worries. Click on the "Susanna Wesley" page when you get a chance. : )

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  6. This is a great post, and a good reminder to move forward, even when we make mistakes.

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    1. Thanks! The only true failure is giving up, huh?

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  7. I think as long as we are doing our best, that is all that matters. At least that is what my grandpa told me. :)

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  8. I agree, I get very busy and my daughter and I don't spend much time at home. But I try to look at it like when I go to the gym she comes with me and we take a class together when I go to the grocery she goes and helps (she's 12) I try to remember we spend time with one another and do things together, yes it maybe while running errands and playing sports and it may not be everyone else's idea of quality time, but it's quality time for us!(:

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    1. I think those everyday activities make some of the best memories. Great quality time!

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  9. Lisa.. I so understand where you are coming from.. however I learned to no longer look back and to only look forward... and make tomorrow a better day. Grace, peace and blessings, Carla

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    1. I agree! That's what grace is teaching me, too. God doesn't hold our mistakes against us, and he can use even our failures.
      Blessings,
      Lisa

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  10. Lisa, I just found your blog. I am always thrilled to find other Christian bloggers encouraging others. As moms (mom of 5) we get very busy and worn out but that is no excuss for our behavior. I that God daily for giving me a new day to try harder. I pray each day that I can try to make a little difference for Him even if it is only a very small difference. I just want to make progress everyday. It is hard to see progress on most days when I am so busy with all my children's activities. Blessings, Diane Roark
    www.recipesforourdailybread.com

    I look forward to receiving your updates and following you. I would love for you to check out my blog and follow me when you get time. Blessings.

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    1. Thanks, Diane. I'll be sure to visit your blog - sounds great! I think God is using our small actions done by faith in bigger ways than we know.
      Blessings,
      Lisa

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  11. I am so glad I read this post today! It came right on time. I totally relate to this. I have made it a point to let God pour his Grace into my life and it had made all the difference. It is not hard for me to feel the strain when I inadvertently revert to old habits. Thank you for your encouraging words! Have a wonderful day!

    Lisa
    www.beautyafterashes.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I'm glad it was helpful. Grace continues to make all the difference in my life, too.
      Blessings!
      Lisa

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  12. Wonderful message. I've been blessed reading this. God bless you, Lisa.

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    1. Thank you, Joseyphina! I am glad you were blessed. It's so neat to connect with people around the world, too - your blog is beautiful! I used to send sermon tapes to people in Ghana, years ago. Blessings!
      Lisa

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  13. We've all felt that way and this is such a great reminder that we don' t have to continue on that path!

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