Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grace like an Avalanche

Life lessons come at the most inconvenient times.  Take this weekend for instance.  There was an incident at church; it involved two of my boys breaking out the fisticuffs in the middle of Sunday School.  On Easter Sunday.  At church.  In front of the whole Sunday school class.  The poor teacher was more than a little gobsmacked.  And rightly so.

Seriously - who's is raising these kids? 

I don't know about you, but I find public displays of my kids disobedience to be far more difficult than disobedience on our own turf.  My pride isn't on the line at home - but here, it was laid to shreds.  

What I wanted to do was tear a strip off of one kid and then the other.  I wanted to yell and scream and light my hair on fire, just to make sure the teacher really understood that I knew how inappropriate the whole things was - I was on her side.   

An internal battle had begun the moment I saw those sheepish and angry faces (one of each) staring at me from the classroom that I am sure would have put the scrap in the Sunday School room to shame.  Amazingly, I told the part of me that wanted to act all shocked and angry that my children would be prone to foolishness and childishness to just sit down, shut up and let grace take over for a little while - just to see how it would work.  Shockingly, it did.

I wonder if letting grace take charge is like choosing to take the scenic route.  It's often got more twists and turns, and almost always takes longer, but in the end, the route is more beautiful and rewarding than trying to scream my way to the end...literally.  With and without grace the destination remains the same.  I don't have to throw out raising our kids to have integrity, poise, respect and whatever other life skills and attributes we might be aiming for in order to parent using grace.

Fantastic analogies aside, I apologized sincerely, but calmly to the teacher.  I let her know that this was totally unacceptable behaviour and that we would deal with it at home.  Then we took the long quiet walk back to the van and started for home. I am discovering that long stretches of silence are much more effective than the nattering and lecturing that I am prone to do. 

So far, I hadn't blown up - though I wanted to.   I knew that I had to put aside my pride and deal with their hearts, and mine.  How often has my pride and right to be vindicated gotten in the way of meaningful correction and training with my kids?  Having others think well of my parenting matters far less than actually parenting well.

The boys were sent to their room and Josh and I made a plan.  We both knew what we wanted to do.  However we both realized that lecturing and being really upset wasn't, in the end, going to bring about a good resolution.  They needed to see for themselves that they were wrong, they needed to own up to their actions and decide how to make it right.

We waited, we listened to each of them tell their stories, and then after more waiting and talking we dealt out consequences - and they hurt, and the boys were really and truly repentant.  They have a list of people they will be writing or speaking apologies to.  We have a plan in place to help modify the inappropriate reaction that led to the whole Sunday School fiasco. We didn't have to force confessions and angry submissions out of our kids to do it.  I never expected discipline to feel like a great "Team Loewen" moment. What a difference grace makes.

There is a new song on the Hillsong United Aftermath recording that refers to God's love being like an avalanche of grace.  I love the juxtaposition of something so destructive paired with something so healing.

Grace is destructive.

Grace destroys brokenness and brings healing.  It destroys overgrown pride in my parenting and replaces it with humility and love for my children.  God's grace destroys my self-righteous anger and grows in it's place mercy and loving justice. It destroys the notion that what I reap I will sow, and takes the place I have earned on the cross and saves me.

Hillsong Aftermath - Like an Avalanche


  1. Your honesty has once again been challenging yet refreshing :) Grace is truly destructive and is not a complacent emotion that is all sugar and spice!! Thanks!

  2. Beautiful post! I am emailing you!

  3. Good work Team Loewen. Thanks for leading the way!

  4. my hats off to you for not reacting in the moment and allowing yourself to think through how you wanted to deal with the boys and for allowing grace to sprinkle down over you all.

  5. thank you again for a beautiful post......
    How does one fill a morning of stealing a lying with grace?
    My daughter chose to take money without asking the lie about it....I took her upstairs gave her a hiding then never allowed her to be involved in the day where the money she wanted could be spent....hours after this and still feeling beat up by the whole process I thought surely there are gentler ways of doing this!!


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