This post is for you parents out there drowning in guilt. I seriously need to read Chapter 3 in Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas every week. It is amazing. I am going to attempt to share with you some of the main points and insights in this chapter so hopefully you can be as encouraged as I am!
"It's not hard to make any parent feel guilty, because we know we can always do more than we do. We can spend more time with the kids, provide a better house or living environment, listen to them more, pray for them more, respond in a more patient manner. The list of things we could do better never ends. But we're fallible human beings. We get tired and grouchy. We don't always think before we act. We're far from perfect. And parenting puts the spotlight on our imperfections like nothing else."
"None of us can mess up so badly that our children somehow extend beyond the reach of God's mercy."
The Gold Behind the Guilt:
1. Guilt Can Point Us to God
"Weakness on our part can actually be a strength when we use it to transfer our kids' allegiance from us to God... I can't be God to my kids, but I can model my need for God."
"When guilt feelings keep us self-absorbed, destroy our motivation, and make us discouraged, guilt has become a parking lot - not a good thing. But when guilt reminds us that we are insufficient, and when this insufficiency points us to God - his forgiveness, his empowering Spirit, and his provision of grace - then guilt becomes a spiritual car wash. You don't camp out in a car wash; you just go there to get clean! You drive through the car wash and come out on the other end with an entirely new outlook."
2. Guilt Can Motivate Us to Do Better
"We can look forward with confidence, use our failings as teachable moments, and wake up with cleansed souls and fresh hearts, knowing we've learned some valuable lessons for the next day."
3. Guilt Can Remind Us of God's Providence
"It's no accident that we have the children we have; God made them and placed them in our care. When he did so, he knew our limitations, but he still entrusted us with these children...All of us come up short as parents - but Christ promises to make up for what we lack"
4. Guilt Can Teach Us to Love Mercy
"Without acknowledging our own guilt, we would never sense the need for mercy, so we wouldn't appreciate this glorious gift of God. And without the guilt of others, we would never be able to apply mercy."
5. Guilt Has a Positive "Hidden Agenda"
"I told one group of men that I wished I could start parenting now, at age 41. I feel more mature at this point, more settled in my career; with a better perspective to begin parenting than when my daughter was born to me at the age of 25. But here's the rub: What helped me to become more mature? What has given me a better perspective? What has worked on my character over the past decade and a half? Raising my kids!"
"God has created an institution - the family - through which he can shape, mold, and form all of us, parents included. We come into the family as imperfect people, and we sin against each other every day; yet through rubbing shoulders and learning to ask for, and offer, forgiveness, we all come out the richer for taking part in this sometimes painful process."