Sunday, June 14, 2009

Next Mom to Mom - developing your child's relationship

Many of y'all have heard a rather famous and incredibly wise proverb of Josh McDowell's regarding parenting that says this: Rules without relationship equals rebellion.

If you are like me, you have witnessed many relationships, probably within your own family, where this maxim proved painfully true. Meet me at Starbucks, I bet we could swap some tales.

Of course, as with all things parenting, this is not always the case. Wonderful, perfect parents can still produce rebellious kids. (Take Adam and Eve, for example.)

Nonetheless, "rules-relationship=rebellion" is a rather reliable formula. As is the converse: Rules with relationship equals respect.

Recently it occurred to me how these truths play into our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the same as they do on Earth.

Those who do not know God - who have no relationship with him - have no desire to honor him. Those who do not honor God rebel against his law. They see God's rules as arbitrary, unjust, random, prejudicial, and perhaps even cruel. Outdated. Ridiculous.

Like a recalcitrant teenager, they rebel. And in the process, they hurt themselves deeply - as our old pastor used to say, "We do not break God's law, God's law is unbreakable. We break ourselves on God's law."

Those who love God, however, cry out, like David, "Oh, Lord, how I love your law!" I think David could have added, (as I know I have) even when I don't like your law, even when I have been backslapped by your law, oh Lord, how I love your law!

The deeper my relationship becomes with the Lord, the more I love him. The more I love him, the more concerned I am with pleasing him. How do I please him? Obedience.

Not because I am scared of him, or scared of the consequences, no - I want to please him because I am so overwhelmed with adoration for what he has done for me, by pulling me out of the miry pit, that my greatest desire in life is to be in his will.

And, once we try on the obedience thing, hallelujah, it works. Obedience leads to joy.

Which all sounds velly similar to the heart-based discipline I try to use with my own children.

So as I'm pondering all these deep thought one morning last week over the background noise of Curious George, I began to wonder, how do I foster this relationship with God that leads to respect that leads to love that leads to honoring that leads to obedience that leads to joy in my babies?

Y'all got any ideas?

Oh, I know you do!

So here is the specific question: What can we as mothers do to encourage our child's relationship with the Lord?

Chew on that, mommas. I'll hook up Mr. Linky on Thursday.

If you are new to It's Almost Naptime, we do these mom carnivals from time to time. To see the old ones, click on mom to mom below. Unfortunately, Mr. Linky is experiencing some serious technical difficulties, so all the old links have disappeared - grrrrr.


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