It’s no longer easy clothes shopping with Anna Takle. Not that it ever has been. But, friends, it’s harder. Much, much harder. I had to try to resuscitate Kris after Anna asked for a bra. In every store, little bras hung, and Anna clung to them like that little undergarment would make her world complete.
Then, she insisted on trying on a pair of shorts her father and I were not going to pay for. They were just too short for our taste. We let her try them on. And, subsequently, we still told her no. The bewildered look on her face to our opposition to the shorts let us know she thought we were being a little over the top. She looked at me and said, “You just don’t get my style.”
I realize her intent with the short shorts is probably not to be a sexy little seven-year old. So, what’s the big deal? It’s probably not. Not today. But, it will be one day when her young innocence becomes a little more infiltrated with what society deems as beautiful for girls. And, I’d just rather loosen the reigns later than have to tighten them. So, I remain a stick in the mud kind of mom, I suppose. Who doesn’t get her style.
I didn’t go into the conversation of “Anna, you are not the sum of your parts,” speech. I just didn’t think it timely for her age. But, I also didn’t tell her “Those shorts aren’t Godly.” Because, that would’ve been a legalistic explanation, I’m sure. I just told her that we didn’t think those shorts were the right choice for her today.
I think too often we play the “God card” with our kids. It’s something I have recognized in my own parenting.
“How do you think it makes God feel when you are being ugly to your sister?”
“How would Jesus had handled this situation?”
“Do you think it makes God happy when you deceive us?”
The list could go on.
I serve a God who loves me no matter what. Whose blood covers a multitude of my stupid mess-ups. Who has an endless supply of grace that He lavishes on me. So, who was this God I was teaching? Not the One I cry out to. Not the One who shows grace to me when I screw up as a parent.
I haven’t played the God card in every parenting situation. There have been plenty of moments where pure discipleship abounded. But, those times I’ve played the God card didn’t even rest well in my own spirit. It just seemed convenient. And, a quick fix.
So, instead of asking “How would Jesus had handled this situation?” I might ask, “Why do YOU think it’s better to forgive?” “How does it make YOU feel when you forgive?”
Teaching our children to do right for the sake of doing right isn’t going to cut it by itself. Through every life lesson, we need to do our best to tell them WHY His way is better. WHY forgiveness is just as much for us as it is for the one who hurt us.
And, I have a life full of examples of why choosing to do things God’s way has made all of the difference in my own life.
So, share your own life examples with your children. Tell them why it has worked for you. Don’t make your children live in fear of not only disappointing you, but disappointing their Creator. Instead, portray their King in such a way….live for Him in such a way….that they will TRUST that His ways really are better.
And, when they mess up, show them the same grace He shows you. Discipline when needed. But, let grace be the covering of it all.
10 responses to “Playing the God Card.”
And often, this is one of the most difficult to handle. It is so easy to say, “That is not very Christlike.” (and my boys are getting older)..
Susan, I think saying something isn’t “Christlike” is okay since you are referring to the character of Christ. It’s much different than making it sound like Christ is disaapointed in you. That’s the mistake I have made in the past. Parenting by using guilt, which is the antithesis of who Christ is.
I dread those days, but not near as much as I dread teenage years!!! I am so glad I get to watch, listen and learn from you doing it before me! It was good to hear your “voice”! Love ya
And Cade, some things I learn from trial and error. Many things I learn from moms who have gone before me. It takes a village. I’ve got some awesome teachers in my village!
I loved your blog, Dusty! I grew up with the “God card” always scaring the tar out of me! God was constantly watching me, keeping track of the bad. I never knew His love or was ever introduced to it until Jesus came! I did the same until I was saved for my kids, but pray my daughters know by now of His love as I pray for them, and I encourage them as adults!
Dusty, I’m so glad you decided to blog during lent. It’s gotta be tough if you are staying away from the web, to write something for the web. Great blog…it would be easy to say this is a parent blog about kids and move on after I read out. But, really it’s a God blog…it’s about His love and His ways…and, after all, I’m a kid and He is my parent, and I learn more about His ways with me. THANKS!!
Ron, for me it’s a great reminder to not live with guilt or condemnation. The enemy cannot deny us forgiveness, but he will try to deny us the freedom from it. Guilt just isn’t God’s style. I’m so glad it’s not.
Lynn–I can SO relate to that and the guilt I felt–and still feel–is almost overwhelming sometimes. And that was usually in relation to very minor things. I was a good kid!
Dusty–Thanks for another reminder. I have found myself saying this. Maybe in desperation? Maybe not knowing what else to say? Maybe not knowing the right thing to say… Regardless, good thoughts today.
You are NOT a stick in the mud….you are her MOTHER! Too many mothers allow so much because they want to be their child’s best friend. They have best friends but only one mother. I agree that the “God Card” just brings guilt so don’t play it but I also hated and resented the “Because I said so Card”…just saying! Great Blog!
This is great Dusty!! Wise words:)