Book Review Pt. 2 of The Ministry of Motherhood By: Sally Clarkson
Gifts of Grace: The Grace of Time Spent Together
Several weeks ago I wrote an introductory blog post about this book I am studying. As a continuation on that post, I’ll begin with a study of what Mrs. Clarkson coins as “Gifts of Grace.” She explains these “gifts of grace” as specific moments, words and actions that happen on a daily basis, and would, by God’s grace, bear huge redemptive purposes.
I’ll be focusing specifically on the first of the triad in this post, “The Grace of Time Spent Together.” This chapter was timely. This often happens (and I’m sure you can relate) that when the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin, He hand picks a chapter of the Bible or another book and lays it in my lap one fateful morning. Needless to say, this exact situation happened with this chapter.
In the mundane of disciplining and teaching day after day, I lost sight of grace. I lost sight of the relationship I have with my child, and its correlation with the relationship between myself and the Father in heaven.
This relationship, is that of God-incarnate, descending from heaven and taking on the form of a servant (Phil. 2). Relinquishing His comfort, His atemporality, His royalty, His life; Jesus came and uniquely manifested supreme authority and supreme humility and servanthood in His ministry on the earth.
So, how can I manifest this grace? Mrs. Clarkson concludes that what matters most to our children is our “loving presence.” Just as our Father in heaven hears our prayers and petitions, we ought to listen to the thoughts of our children. The thoughts of a man come directly from what his heart treasures (Mt 12:35), herein we are able to steer conversation to the gospel. Just as our Father wisely and faithfully disciplines us, we ought to prayerfully and faithfully discipline our children. Just as our Father promises the peaceful fruit of righteousness from His discipline, we ought to tell of the peace and rest found in Jesus when we obey and persevere in the context of disciplining our children. (Heb. 12, just read the whole chapter; God is so good.)
Christ never threatened or beat His disciples into submission. He establishes a loving, trusting relationship with His disciples because He is the great Shepherd, our Comfort, and the Word incarnate. Out of this faithful, sacrificial and steadfast relationship, we are disciplined and refined and enabled to obey, all for His glory.
In practical terms, the sacrifice of my time and attention is what builds my relationship with my children. A potential redemptive moment takes precedence over my morning cup, or my aching, tired body that needs to clock out for the night. This sacrificial model has a purpose, always pointing to my Savior. Should He chose to call my little ones, and they then understand their need for His grace, it is my prayer that these divine moments would establish a relationship much like that which is with the Father. A relationship that is secure, trusting and steadfast. One which they can come and be heard, reproved and comforted.