Graceful Mothering

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Some of you know I’m reading a book called, “Give Them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It’s breaking down the walls of some of the parenting books I’ve read in the past; back when I was a new mom. It’s unbelievable how such teachings can take hold. This book, Give Them Grace, is a breath of fresh air.

I used to be one of those who avoided any parenting books that displayed the word “grace” in the title because automatically I thought they were telling parents to let their children do whatever they wanted. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead, this book draws out our need for Jesus, and shows us our children have the same need. It shouldn’t be any surprise that our children are sinners just like we are. But somehow we hold them to a higher standard then we hold ourselves.

We can also put so much emphasis on behavior modification that we fail to lead them to the throne of grace, where Christ waits to extend forgiveness upon repentance. When our children don’t consistently produce the good behavior we seek, we become consistently angry and frustrated. Our mentality here is all wrong. Our goal shouldn’t be behavior modification.

Give Them Grace addresses parenting as an idol in chapter 3. What happens is parents get so consumed with trying to “work” at raising perfect children so their children will be saved, it becomes an idol in their lives. The problem is, it’s not up to us to save our children. Does that mean we don’t discipline and teach godly character? Not at all. It simply means when our children mess up (and they will), it’s our duty to lead them to the cross. But ultimately, God is the changer of hearts.

That’s where they can be face to face with how they cannot be obedient 100% of the time, which is the reason they need Jesus. Together, we thank Jesus for his sacrifice so He could extend us grace and keep going.

I am terrible about showing my children God’s grace. And why? Because I’ve grown to believe that children need the law and nothing more. The twisting of Scriptures in one parenting book has shaped this way of parenting for me. Now I’m at a place where I need a complete paradigm shift.

Our children are not saved by the law, just like we are not saved by the law. The law is important. Yes! It has it’s place. But obeying it perfectly (which is impossible) will not win the favor of God for salvation. And we cannot save our children by “perfect parenting” because that, too, does not exist. God will not make everything turn out the way we want because of our “righteous parenting”.

“Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 2:16


“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:21

Following the law isn’t bad, so long as we’re doing it for the right reason. When our relationship with the Lord deepens, so does our desire to please Him. It pleases Him when we obey out of a heart of love for Him. It still doesn’t save us. Only faith in Jesus and what He’s done on the cross can do that.

It’s as if we can say the truth of the gospel, but we have a hard time grabbing hold of it, because, well, it seems too easy. In some aspects, it is easy! It’s a simple truth we’ve complicated. On the contrary, the Christian life is definitely not one of ease.

The law gives us false hope that if our children are obeying it well, their hearts must be right with God. This is not the case and we need to recognize this lie as soon as may be.

This is really a freeing thing because the burden of their salvation was never mine to carry. My job is to lead and train. Only God can take it from there.

What are your thoughts on extending more grace to your children?


  1. Nicole Auld says:

    What a lovely post. I struggle with giving my little ones grace ages 4, 2 and, 11wks. As we go through life the parenting and training days I think we forget what giving grace looks like.
    I would love to read more from you what are some practical ways to give your little ones grace. I think I struggle with giving grace because as a kid we are taught so much obey mommy and daddy. When we disobeyed there was always a consequence.

    •  I agree. We tend to forget about the most important part of the Gospel – grace. And often I think it’s because we forget to receive it ourselves.

  2. Desiré says:

    This book has been so influential in my parenting approach.  I wrote a whole series on it on my blog to help me process it.  It is SO different than what a lot of “Christian parenting” book advise (and I believe so much more biblical).  Glad it’s been helpful to you as well!

    • Oh neat Desire’!! I will have to look into that. Would love to read your insights!! Thank you for stopping by and for your encouragement! :)

  3. Isn’t it freeing that we are not the Holy Spirit in our kids lives? So glad you are enjoying that book. I think Christian parenting is more about acting right our selves so our own kids will have a living example of how to live. When we fail, we seek forgiveness and grace. That is a great example to set before our kids. The perfection trap is enough to make anyone suicidal. :)

  4. Loving this post. Thank you for helping me to feel confident in what we do in our home. Giving Grace can be so hard. We get so caught up in comparing and perfection we miss what is most important and simple.

  5. I just watched the small interview video about this book and it has been on my Amazon wish list for months now. I really need to by it b/c I have been pretty discouraged lately with parenting, but I think that’s because I have been focused on the wrong thing. I need a breath of fresh air & I’m heading to Amazon now! :-) Thanks so much!

    •  Yes, Stacy, I do think this will give you some new insights to draw from. You may not agree with everything said, and that’s OK! Just press on and take from it what is good. :) (Remember, no parenting book is perfect either) ;)

  6. Great post! You share such wisdom on parenting with grace. I was convicted when you talked about parenting can be an idol..we want perfect children and obedience. That really is SO unrealistic! Thanks for pointing me to Jesus and that I can receive His grace to parent my children.

    •  Oh thank you Kathy. I am trying to learn from my own mistakes. I read a parenting book years ago that taught perfect obedience and I actually believed it was attainable. Now I need to undo all that false information and remember reality – we need Christ for a reason…we can’t produce perfectly obedient children. It’s impossible. And parenting with that belief will only frustrate us and make our children lose heart that they will “ever get it right”. We make them feel as if we are never satisfied with them. So dangerous and a mentality I want so desperately to change in my own heart. I am so glad this helped you, too. Bless you, Kathy!

  7. I bought it this morning on Amazon. Look forward to reading it!

  8. Naomi M says:

    What a great post, one I needed this morning. I have read another book by the same author and really enjoyed it. I hope to purchase this book soon, it sounds really good!

  9. The best thing an “older mom” told me was that our parenting of our kids should help paint a picture to them of what God is like.  Oh I know I fall so short, but I often think of that.  I remember another mom who was also a committed Christian, but who had a different parenting philosophy tell me that her new baby was “a welcome member of the family, but not the center of the family.”  It might have just been me, but although that statement might be technically true, it seemed awfully “hard.”  God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe and yet He treats me as if I’m incredibly important.  He delights in me.  His kindness leads me to repentance.  I want to draw my children into relationship with me.  I want to mirror that relationship as I parent my kids.

    •  I think what is most important is conveying to our children how UNlike God we are and why we need Him so desperately. Children need to know that their parents don’t think they are perfect parents and know they need Jesus. It is wonderful to know how He delights in us, isn’t it? The same goes for our children and they need to know, too. :)

  10. Thanks for the review! I’ve been hearing good thing about this book but not specifics. I’m adding it to my list!

  11. I have this in audio format to listen to, but haven’t yet. I’m not sure what is keeping me back because I am the WORST for extending grace to my children! When I look at how much God has given me, and how little grace I give them for their “faults” and learning, I am ashamed. Thank you for sharing this Christin, I’m finishing up a couple other good books and will be getting to this next. but I’m looking forward to hearing more from you on it! :0)

    •  This is an interesting read…there are some story examples that I’m not sure I agree with, but I press on because they make a lot of good points. I look forward to sharing more! It helps me process it better!! :)

  12. I so need to read this book – I’m struggling so much with feeling like I’m not a good parent because I flounder with grace for my kids.  This book is next on my list to read.

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