I want to talk a little bit about what it means to be a place of peace for your child.
Sometimes, in the trying moments, we may feel the need to step away from the situation or our child so we can calm down. We certainly all need to just take some space from the crisis sometimes. But I want to remind you that we as parents are gifted not with our own inner peace, but with the peace that comes from abiding in Christ.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Jesus, while speaking with His disciples, spends a great deal of time explaining that the safe place for them is abiding in Him as their place of peace, ability, and safety because Jesus is abiding in the vital source of life in all its fullness–God himself.
As parents, we do not take the place of Jesus, but we do build our model after Him and we see that He offers us a space within Himself that allows vulnerability and protection.
When we understand abiding in Christ and live in this every day, we are able to be that place of peace for our children because we abide in Christ, and Christ abides in the Father. We are offering ourselves to be a link in the chain that helps connect our children with their creator.
One does not simply bounce in and out of this abiding business. It is a conscious choice–a lifestyle. But it isn't quite as easy as giving you a checklist of things to mark off to make sure you're abiding in Him. How I wish it were that easy!
Ultimately, abiding in Christ is not about doing all the things, rather it is resting in our identity in Him.
When we find our true identity in the One who created us, we are freed from misplacing our identity in the things that so quickly tempt us: how tidy our homes are, how obedient, how many Bible verses we have memorized, how much we accomplished around the house or for the Kingdom.
We do not have to strive for, work for, negotiate or argue for, defend, or take credit for Christ’s unconditional love for us.
He is just as much at work in us when we’re dancing in praise to Him as when we’re dancing around toys on the floor. His faithfulness to us is just as steadfast when we read our Bible for an hour as it is when our Bibles sit in the car forgotten since last Sunday. His peace is available to us as reliably when our children are tucked snuggly in their beds and the house is quiet as it is when chaos ensues and screaming and crying and tantrums are the soundtrack to our days.
How I wish I could give you the indescribable gift of this freedom: abiding in Christ is about His faithfulness and goodness, not about how hard we’re holding on to Him. Jesus-Centered parenting, abiding in Christ is giving radical surrender to our weakness so that we can depend wholly on His strength. The world tells us to defend, hide, be ashamed of it, and deny our weakness. Jesus invites us to welcome our it as a sacred reminder to abide in Him and His strength.
To be sure, we can develop holy habits that remind us of Christ's faithfulness. But we must recognize that these habits are about being with Him, not about doing more or trying harder.
Ultimately, as we abide in Christ we will begin to see evidence of His work in us:
The fruit of the Spirit:One of the evidences we are abiding in Christ is by bearing fruit–we are told what some of those fruits look like. I find that being familiar with something and putting those things into practice can be two totally different things. It may be a good idea to make a chart or write them out in a place where they are continually before your eyes as you a reminder of the work He is doing in you and through you. Yes, you may have to practice gentleness and peace many times over! But the work isn't yours to do alone!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Looking for opportunities to learn from Jesus:How do we do this? Make time to spend with Jesus. For some people that looks like taking a chunk of time in the morning to soak in the word and be in prayer. For others in more busy seasons, it may simply be taking time to pause and bring the Lord into your day, or using the chromecast to put on a scripture playlist while you’re busy at home. Whatever the case may be, abiding in Christ looks like being drawn to spend time with Jesus and learn from Him how we can put His model Kingdom way of living into practice as a parent.
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
Letting the Peace of God rule in your heart:This is simple–stop striving for peace as though it’s something you can wrestle down. Remember who the Lord is and that He is always a non-anxious presence whom you can trust. Don’t let your mind be led down all sorts of rabbit trails. Practice, instead, letting the peace of God rule in your hearts. It’s not something to force. It is something to simply allow. It may take some practice, but if Jesus told us to, I can promise you it is worth it.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15
Your unique story needs to be told in unique ways.
God is writing the beautiful story of you. The failures, conflicts, and struggles that arise in your story are part of what makes you unique. We know that the application of the scriptures we shared may very well look a little bit different for each of us, but ultimately, they will all point to Jesus.
When we focus our energy on being peaceful, regulated, and steadfast we are able to bring those things–and Jesus– into every situation.
This abiding does not fail us because Jesus doesn’t fail us. Instead, it brings peace to the chaos and our children are able to regulate and be at peace much more easily when we are doing just that.