There’s no formula for raising godly children. Instead, we follow the Christ’s example by offering our kids God’s expectations and grace as we disciple them. In this episode, Emily and Laura interview Elyse Fitzpatrick about faithfulness in the early years of motherhood. Elyse is a wife, mom, and prolific author of many books that apply gospel truths to daily life. While we’re called to faithfully nurture, train, and discipline our children according to God’s word, only Jesus can transform their hearts and teach them to love his design. Let’s give our kids the greatest example of faith by being sinners who run to Jesus with them.
Articles, Resources and Related Content:
Give Them Grace (co-authored with Jessica Thompson)
Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions (co-authored with Jessica Thompson)
“He’s Been Through It All” - Elyse at R|M
“X-Ray Questions” - David Powlison
“Parenting is a Process, Not an Event” - Paul David Tripp (Video)
“Parenting a Difficult Child” - Julie Lowe
“Discipline that Connects with Our Children’s Hearts” - Jim & Lynne Jackson
Parenting - Paul David Tripp
Shepherding a Child’s Heart - Ted Tripp
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Scripture teaches Jesus is our great High Priest who’s able to empathize with us fully. Doesn’t that give us encouragement? Jesus knows what it’s like to be weary, to be singularly responsible for his family, to teach and not see immediate fruit, and to repeat the same thing over and over again (just think of the disciples). While we won’t respond perfectly in these situations, Jesus lived a perfect life with perfect motivations in order to secure a perfect record for each of us. When God looks at us, he sees only Christ’s righteousness, not our imperfect parenting records. This means we can respond graciously to our children out of the grace we’ve been given. Let this truth shape your conversations around the following questions.
Our children will disobey, but our response reveals a great deal about our hearts. If we’re embarrassed when a child publicly disobeys, maybe we worship our reputation. If we want to give up and refuse to train our children during difficult moments, maybe we worship ease. Consider your response to a specific time your child disobeyed. What does your response reveal about your heart?
Just like our children won’t always follow God’s design and commands, we won’t either. How can recognizing our need for a Savior shape our discipline strategies at home? Does offering grace mean never implementing consequences? Consider how God disciplines his children in order to reap a harvest of righteousness and peace (Heb. 12).
There’s no Christian formula to guarantee our kids will become disciples of Christ. Instead, God calls us to faithfully nurture, train, and discipline our children according to his word. We may be used by God to bring our children to him, but salvation belongs to him alone. What are your goals in your parenting right now? Does this truth change them?
We should teach our kids God’s law, but we should also understand that the natural human response to the law is to break it. So we must additionally teach our kids the only way they can keep the law is through Christ, and then show them how to run to him. How can you explain this in an understandable way to your specific children?
We’re all going to struggle as we discipline, but our faith in Christ secures us a perfect parenting record. How is this the good news of the gospel for moms? How does this change how you parent?