Chapter 7: Lies Women Believe About Children

Each Monday, we are covering a chapter from Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. I’m going to be honest with you. I struggled with some of the thoughts in this chapter about our children. While everything Nancy said is true, I feel I need to place a guard up against reading a different meaning into some of what was shared in this chapter.

I believe that everything we do needs to be bathed in grace. Perhaps it’s because I’m such a mess and I know my desperate need. Perhaps it’s because I have battled the deception of performance so much in my own life…feeling defined by my failures, measured by my limitations, locked in the bondage of all the ways I fall short instead of freed by the gift grace being offered by our Savior.

The biggest lie I struggle with as a mother is the one that says we are 100 percent responsible for the behavior of our children. Whenever I focus on my performance as a parent, I am at my worst. That thinking results in feelings of hopeless defeat. My eyes are not even focused on what’s best for my kids, but on the picture we are presenting to others. When that happens, nothing good comes from it. I fail…they rebel. So, I try to purpose in my heart to stay away from that line of thinking…to resist focusing on my performance or theirs at all costs.

I have learned the gift of grace-based parenting over the years. Teenagers are good teachers of the concept. I find myself rebelling against my own hypocrisy and legalism, seeing the reflection in their eyes. While I don’t always practice grace as I should, it is a freeing gift each time I do.

Another thing that being a mom for seventeen years has taught me is that most battles are best fought on my knees in prayer. God does not give us a spirit of fear. He longs for us to pour out all of our anxious thoughts and concerns at His waiting feet. He is able when I fall short. He can protect my son when he drives away in the car. He can give wisdom for the weighty matters of life. He can soften a hardened heart, shape a rebellious spirit, comfort an anxious mind, heal a wheezing cough. He can go where I cannot. He can see the motives of their hearts. He alone. And, He hears every prayer this mama-heart sets before His throne on behalf of the children that He has good plans for…the children that He loves even more dearly and perfectly than this mother.

That is the hope we rest in. Please don’t read this chapter and allow fear to enter your heart. Fear about your children’s salvation. Fear about the harmful influences of the world. Fear about your own performance. We are covered in grace…every step of the way.
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Lie 27. It’s up to us to determine the size of our family.

Truth: God is the Creator and Giver of life. (Genesis 1)

I will not place judgment on those who seek the Lord’s guidance in planning their families. Over the years, I have wondered about some of my own choices in that area. But, I believe it is between the Lord and each married couple to determine what is best for their family. We have five children, and in the having of our children, there was much difficulty. Three of them are in heaven and my body has forever been changed. I’m not talking about stretch marks…I mean internally. Pregnancy has proven to be quite toxic to me.We would have loved more children and sometimes I wonder about our decision to not have anymore. God knows our hearts and I trust His grace is poured over us, even in this. There is a way of thinking in today’s society that almost lends to the idea that children are an inconvenience. It is born of selfishness. I believe Nancy’s thoughts are to combat the way of thinking that having children should be based on the selfish idea of convenience. My dear bloggy friend, Mary, shares some excellent thoughts on this idea on her blog.

Lie 28. Children need to get exposed to the “real world” so that they can learn to function in it.

Truth: Our goal is not for our children to fit into the world, but to be used by God to change it. Children need to be protected from worldly influences until they are spiritually mature enough to withstand them. (Romans 12:2, Psalm 101)

This is the lie that I have heard over and over again in opposition to our choices as Christian parents to shield our children from worldly influences…from family and friends alike over the years. There is a definite deception among some who think that children should be freely exposed to everything. They need to be sheltered. Nancy talks about exposing a plant to the harsh conditions of winter. We wouldn’t do that…knowing that the plant cannot withstand such harsh conditions for it would surely wither and die. The same is true for our kids. They need to be protected from some things. We need to guard what their young minds are exposed to through the media and other forums. One of my favorite verses for my kids when asked why they can’t watch something or listen to that music says we should be “wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” (Romans 16:19) It’s true for them and it’s true for me. We must guard what our eyes see and what enters our minds.

That being said, I do think that we should not live in fear of worldly influences, either…knowing that we cannot live in a total protective bubble. There will be worldly ideas that weasel their way into our lives and the lives of our children. We do need to use those times as teachable moments…and we need to pray that our children will be equipped to resist those influences. They need to learn to choose light when darkness and light lies before them…in time as they grow. They are stronger when they’ve been given a solid foundation.

Lie 29. All children will go through a rebellious stage.

Truth: Expecting our children to rebel makes it more likely that they will do so.

I believe this to be true, but I also believe that scripture shows we all have rebellion in our hearts. We all sin. We all fall short. From time to time, my kids have displayed defiance. And, I have offered discipline when needed. And, grace when needed. While we shouldn’t expect rebellion from our kids, and we can maintain a loving relationship through their teenage years, we should not feel completely responsible or defeated should we be met with some rebellion from our kids. After all, God was the perfect parent and His children rebelled against Him. It is part of our nature…not that we shouldn’t strive against it, nor should we expect it…but we should not feel defeated when we see rebellion rear it’s head.

I believe I covered the last two lies (number 30 regarding our children’s salvation and number 31 regarding our performance as parents) at the beginning of this post. We should not live in fear of whether or not our children will come to know Christ. Instead, we should teach them the Word, live as godly examples, show love, and pray, pray, pray! Let God do the rest!

I would love to hear your thoughts on the lies and truth about mothering.

Praying for each of us as we navigate our way through this study…

Comments

  1. Hey Kelly! I'm on chapter 5, so I just have a couple more to catch up. Yay! I'm planning to read them today, then I'll come back and catch up. It will feel great to get caught up!

  2. Hopped over from Lynette's blog. I just couldn't wait to start the party I guess. Very interesting thoughts to ponder here.

  3. Sarita Boyette says:

    I'm just now getting caught up reading. This chapter really touched my heart and your comments helped me feel not so guilty about limiting our family size. I had 4 children, and complicated pregnancies every time. Meredith died as a result of complications. After the twins were born, I had a tubal ligation because the doctor strongly encouraged me to. I have felt guilty about that some, but I do trust that the Lord gives us knowledgeable doctors to help us make decisions.
    Like the author, I was blessed with Godly parents. I tried to be as Godly with my children, but I know I failed in so many ways. My children are all Christians – the Lord has blessed us so with these adults whom I love very much.
    They never went through a rebellious stage, for which I am very thankful.

  4. I loved your thoughts on this chapter, Kelly. Yay too because I am now caught up!! And I am really loving this book.

    You know what is so funny? I was just having a conversation with the Lord this morning as I was driving around town about having more children. This may be TMI, but we have never taken measures to prevent pregnancy, and here we are almost 5 years later and have not had another child. I truly believe God is in total control on that. Her words stung when she said something about us forgetting how much blessings children are, because when I was talking to the Lord today, I was wondering if we should have my hubby have the "procedure" but neither of us really feel that's the right decision and I was telling God I sure don't think I can go through pregnancy again, so please just don't let us get pregnant. ha! Real spiritually mature, huh?! This chapter made me really see how if God chooses for me to be the way he introduces his child to the world, then I should accept that responsibility, no matter how hard it may or may not be. That was just convicting to me!

    And I totally agree with her thoughts that teens don't have to be expected to rebel. I was always close with my mom and I totally expect to be with my girls. I have already started talking to Madison about how I will not accept that we cannot get along just because she will be a teen soon. I think it's dangerous when parents accept the talking back and disrespect as just part of growing up. And I see that happening already with Madison's friends and their parents. If they allow it now, it will only get worse. That's not to say I didn't do things my mom would have been shocked about. ha! I just think we can't give up and expect it, is all. :)

    I have also always wondered about kids who get saved when they are like 5. I've been feeling pressure because all these bloggers talk about their little ones being saved and I am not pushing my girls to do that because I know they truly don't really understand it yet. I'm not saying these little ones don't, it just makes me wonder. And it may be my own fault that they don't understand yet, but I have talked to Madison about things and I know she's still learning. I accepted Christ when I was 11 and I know I didn't truly understand why Jesus is the way until a couple of years ago and once I understood that, that is when my life completely changed.

    Sorry for the novel! :D

  5. I have been reading but haven't been able to comment. Busy with Children but I found some time and I know that God is the giver of life. I know that my parents used no control over how many chilldren they had. We don't either. I dislike so bad when people say they made a mistake. No blessing of a child is that. I know today if I had all my children living I would have seven. God blessed us.
    I'm not against homeschooling but I feel to a point it is good for a child to be out in the world but it all starts at home. Where love & faith & trust are taught. I grew up with Christian parents and I try very hard to raise mine the same.
    I know I went through a spell when I gave my parents worry but as for my siblings they didn't so not every child does. I wasn't terrible but I know later that I wasn't raised that way to get in trouble.
    I accepted the Lord when I was 10. I knew what I was doing to a point. It wasn't really until I was 17 I could say I totally understood things after being more involved in church.
    I love my children to no end and this chapter really touched my heart. There was a day when Dr's told me I would never carry a child but God above all said different. Even though I have lost I know God has blessed me and I will do my best as a parent. I enjoy this book.
    Thanx Kelly for doing this.

  6. Yeah!!! I'm caught up and feel great about it! I am so glad that I was able to your comments and the comments of the other women concerning this chapter. I did not necessarily agree with some of what Nancy said in this chapter. You really helped clarify a lot of this chapter for me. As a parent, I worry about all of these things because I want my children to inherit the kingdom and have a testimony that their peers will look towards for guidance. I also realize that God's grace is so huge in raising children. I really struggled with a good many of the examples that Nancy shared because she seemed so perfect. She seemed to have it all figured out and that is just beyond me. I do as you do. I teach my children in the way I feel God has led me to, I pray for them, and then I rely on God's grace also. Both of my boys have made professions of faith and we made sure not to push them because I wanted it to be from their heart and totally God led. So I guess as I read this chapter, I really struggled with the author's perspective.
    The one lie that I really struggle with the most is determining the number of children we will have. I am currently pregnant with our fifth child. Our fourth son lives in Heaven and was the most difficult pregnancy. I'll just say it, I have lived in fear with this pregnancy of the many things that can go wrong. God does not promise us that we will not have storms and having lived through one, I am so fearful of another. I have had a difficult time with this pregnancy just from stress and the fatigue that comes with being 37 and not as young as I once was. I'm not sure I can do this again as much as I love children and would not mind having one or even two more. We have chosen to have a tubal this time and I have just been so back and forth about this. One day I have peace and then the next I read the seventh chapter in this study and really begin to second guess myself. One day I know that physically and emotionally I can not do this again, the next day I'm so torn because I feel like I am not allowing God to choose that path for me. Wow, I am still really struggling with this one. My doctor recommends that I have the surgery and he was VERY supportive of us carrying Eli and giving him every chance possible. I just love my doctor and completely respect his medical opinion. I guess I have a lot more praying and searching to do in the next six weeks before this little one comes. I would really appreciate your prayers also.

  7. I think this chapter is a great reminder for us to regard our children as blessings and not burdens. However much I cherish and enjoy my children, it is easy sometimes to resent the sometimes thankless jobs of entertaining, feeding, and bathing them. It does me good to be reminded that when I'm taking care of my children, I'm doing one of the most important jobs ever in God's eyes. We are just so inundated with the perspective that children are inconveniences. The chapter also made me realize some of my faulty reasoning for possibly not trying to expand our family. Throughout this book, Nancy has made me realize how much of a worldly attitude I have–I have been made to think about and seriously reconsider my attitudes and actions. I find some of this book a bit hard to swallow, and I've struggled with feeling like a failure because according to this book I'm doing so much wrong and thinking with the wrong perspective (thank you Kelly for the segments on "grace" that you've included in some of your latest blogs!), but, overall it is the "kick in the behind" that I've needed for a long time.

  8. Jennifer Ross says:

    I may be late, but I'm here!!! :)

    This chapter really addressed some topics that I have been struggling with lately. Not to long ago, I was talking with a friend and I was talking with her about how my children will be when they are grown. I had said that if they turn "bad" when they're older, then I will at least know that I had raised them with the best Christian" living" that I was capable of. That's true, but after reading, it encouraged me to make sure that I keep right on top of them and not them walk away without a spiritual fight. I will carry my children in prayer as long as I am living. I refuse to sit back and just watch them fall later in life. I will never give up or walk away from them.

    Our children are truly the greatest gifts from God.

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