Perfect Grace

I have always been a dreamer.  A hopeless romantic.  Someone who can get lost in a book and tune out the whole world.  Someone who sets crazy expectations (or really fantasy situations) up in my head for others to live up to, and they almost always let me down (only they don’t know that, because the whole fantasy is all in my crazy head).  I have decided that sometimes, I really just disappoint myself.  Life isn’t a fairytale.  No one lives a perfect life.  None of us are free from trouble in this world.  We all have shortcomings, issues and baggage! Why then do we work so hard to make everything appear so perfect?  We live in a world where we are constantly being shown the perfect body, the perfect house, the perfect outfit, the perfect diet, the perfect workout, the perfect marriage, the perfect children…I could go on and on here!!!  Why can we not just be real.  I am guilty of hiding the bad stuff and only showing all the good.  Trust me when I say that we deal with all sorts of stuff in our house!  We are no where near perfect parents, and our children are not perfect either.  We have however dealt with parents who do think their children are never at fault.  That is a tough one!  We are trying raising children to our children to “own it” when they do something.  Even something seemingly insignificant.  We make them apologize.  We expect a change in the behavior after said apology.  An apology is nothing without an action of change following it.  How can you continue to forgive someone who constantly keeps doing the same thing to you over and over?

We have a set of expectations and standards for our kids.  Rules, guidelines, as well as how they are expected to behave.  It is hard sometimes.  Some days it is easy.  But we want our children ready to succeed in the world.  We already know that they are able to overcome very difficult circumstances.  And beyond overcome them, but thrive and enjoy life!

Parenting is tough.  We are a generation that is struggling with the whole social media age.  Internet and technology that no generation before us has had to parent through.  We all have different guidelines and rules.  It is probably our biggest parenting challenge!  Especially when you have a child that is super social and wants to be in contact with everyone!  We monitor.  We guide.  We argue.  We are trying to protect from things that cannot be unseen, or unheard.  We are not their friend or their buddy.  We are their parents!  We are the boss!   I don’t really care what all their friends parents let them do, we are not responsible for the well being of their child.  (Unless they are at our house and again, our house, our rules!)

The best thing I can do every day is pray for them and show them grace!

!  I know we will get some of it wrong.  I know we will make them angry.  I know that they will make mistakes and push the limits!  But I also know that we will be here to pick them up when they fail.  Help them to learn from their mistakes and guide them forward.  Most importantly, we will love them unconditionally, flaws and all!  I am so thankful that God loves me with all my flaws and imperfections.  I am thankful for His perfect grace when I mess up.  I am thankful for mercy that allows me to keep going!

By Laurel Austin Henson

Laurel spent 8 months caring for her first husband after being diagnosed with cancer in 2010. He passed away at 33, leaving behind a daughter of 7 and 5 year old twin boys. After sowing millions of tears, Laurel sought out God daily and began to plan for a life of being a single mother, but ready to raise their children in faith, hope and love. God gave her more than she could have ever imagined when she brought Matt into her life, along with his 2 children. He was recently divorced and the providence of God had been leading up to this life for more than 20 years! Now Laurel is reaping joy with Matt and their 5 beautiful children. Thanks be to God for all the beauty created from the ashes of death and divorce.

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