Today was the second day of our Moments for Moms group at South Bay. I am really enjoying this group for many reasons . . . the community, the connections with other moms I didn’t know before, and the child-care! Honestly though, I think one of the biggest draws is the actual teaching time. Mom’s need practical knowledge about parenting! I feel this already and I am only a mom of one young baby!
Today our speaker was Mandy Santos, mother of 3 and wife of Filipe, our Executive Pastor of Ministries. She spoke of the topic of Fighting for your Child’s Heart. I’d like to share some of my learnings from this morning, once again for my benefit just as much as yours! A blog is like a back-up journal. I can go back into my archives and learn things from re-reading things I’ve learned!!
Mandy started by sharing a moment of vision with us from her experience . . . She talked about a time years ago when she was sitting in a Beth Moore conference and watching intently as Beth Moore’s own daughter sat on the front row, completely engaged in her teaching. What a great representation of someone who has captured their daughter’s heart. Mandy said growing up she wasn’t looking forward to being a mom because it seemed scary and she didn’t feel adequate or equipped. This particular moment in her life captured what she wanted to be as a mom one day, and provided the vision and perspective that motivated her to learn about parenting and how to do it well.
I’m going to share my personal highlights and take-aways from today. The whole talk was great, but I can’t write everything. And I’m going to write it to myself, but you are welcome to listen in.
Kendall just imagine the end. Dream about who you want Ella to be. Envision her as an adult. What is she passionate about? Who is she on the inside? Is she using her gifts? What is her posture and attitude toward you as her parent? Use these questions to guide and inform your parenting now, even while she is young.
Kendall, you are to discipline Ella with grace and truth. Discipline is not designed to control. Discipline is not primarily for your own mental sanity, order in the home, sense of accomplishment or to display your authority or wisdom to your child or others.
Discipline is heart training for your child. Discipline is designed primarily for Ella’s good, to give her structure and guidelines to learn to respect authority and live in freedom. It is designed to help her understand herself, God, and her need for a savior. You will discipline her because you love her.
Kendall, Ella’s behavior is a window into what is going on in her heart. Don’t simply focus on the behavior, but use it as a catalyst to address what is inside. Help her learn to discern for herself what is in her heart and understand her own motivations. As you do this you can teach her how to manage her emotions and desires.
As a parent, you demonstrate to your child how God’s grace works. Your child at times deserves to be ignored, neglected, left alone. As a parent you could walk away. You could give up. You will feel unappreciated, disrespected, and controlled. However, you will demonstrate God’s grace when instead of walking away, you stay in there and lovingly discipline Ella for her own good.
You often deserve God walking away from you. He could throw in the towel after all he has provided, sacrificed, and given for you. All the patience he has displayed toward you. But he doesn’t. He stays. He goes another round. He again measures out grace toward you by convicting and disciplining you when you are out of line.
Your child needs structure and boundaries. She will test you. Ella will want to know how far she can push so that she can experience your consistency and feel safe. Structure provides safety and freedom for your sweet child.
“Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight” –Psalm 119:35
God’s commands are our path to happiness and freedom. It is the same for your Ella. If she learns to respect your boundaries and stay in control of herself, then she can be trusted to have more responsibility and independence, and experience more of the world.
Ella I will always fight for your heart. I want you to want to be open and share your life with me. You won’t have to look to any other woman to see what it means to love Christ and live your life for Him. No other woman will show you how to love people and value relationships. No other woman will demonstrate better than me how to love your husband and manage your home. I will help you discover who God made you to be. I won’t be perfect, but I’ll be real. You will always know what a beautiful blessing you are to me and to your daddy.