Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Boundaries Cloaked in Grace

Mercy: Not getting the punishment you deserve
Grace: Getting something good you do not deserve
My MOPS meeting last week had a large impact on my mothering. The speaker gave so much practical advice and words of wisdom that I am still processing it.
She didn't come armed with only her own wisdom, but she asked her friends for their wisdom as well. She said the responses were from women ranging in age from the early 20's to the late 80's. One of the ladies gave this advise: have boundaries cloaked in grace.
At first this stumped me (and I am still muddling through the meaning). I have boundaries for my children. But what does it mean to have them cloaked in grace? It means that I need to model and verbalize grace and mercy towards my children. And how do I do this? By allowing a little flexibility in the discipline zone. [I realize I should explain that I am talking about dealing with my 3 yr old. My 1 yr old still needs the consistency of discipline every time.]
The other day, my dear three-and-a-half-year-old son lied to me. It was an out and out lie, and he knew it. It deserved discipline, and he knew that as well. But I told him I was going to be merciful to him and not give him the discipline he knew he deserved. I also told him that next time he lied to me like that, I was not going to be merciful to him, and he was going to have consequences.
Then yesterday, grace happened when I gave Eldest the hot chocolate he wanted, but did not merit, due to a bad attitude that morning. I realize now that I should have told him I was being gracious to him and explained about grace, but I didn't. I eagerly await the next opportunity to model and verbalize mercy and grace to my son.