For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Have twin daughters has taught me new humility! I think I thought that perhaps if I followed the right routines and organised the correct activities, or even taught them the right stuff that my girls would be good. Well, unfortunately they are far from it! They have not needed anyone to teach them to be selfish - that they want the toys that the other one has, even if an identical one is by their own feet. Me and Ben do not scratch, scream and bite each other to get our own way! But my children do regularly. They love themselves and their own desires - and that is their first love.
Yes in their betters moments they cuddle and kiss each other and share toys and it is all rather cute in every way! But it still does not explain away or make right their violent and vicious side that wants to get their own way.
This shows itself in other ways too. They do not in anyway desire to do what I tell them - in fact if they know its something they are not supposed to do, it makes them twice as likely to do it - looking at me with a cheeky grin on their faces - as if to say - 'try and stop both of us!' The vast majority of these things I have said to keep them safe - "don't eat the berries in the garden", "don't climb on the arm of the sofa and dance about", "don't climb on top of the speaker to reach the windowsill" - but they ignore these all the time!
I think I used to think that being a parent who had obedient children was about teaching them the right things, that this would make them good. I'm sure lots of parenting is about this and modelling these good habits. But I've realised that actually what I was doing was relying on my own ability to do these things. What about the moments when I get angry and cross and shout? What about the moments when I lose my patience - over things that aren't even their fault? (Like a cup of coffee left by myself being split?!) I don't want them to learn this behaviour!
Actually I've realised that I need to be humble in my parenting too - realise that I the way I parent doesn't earn God's favour - nothing in the way I'm a parent will ever make me right with God or make me a better person. I can't boast in what I do with my kids - and the only way they will ever learn to be obedient is through knowing Jesus. Every human being is 100% rebellious! I need to remember in my times of lack of self control that I need Jesus's grace and mercy, I can't do this parenting thing by myself. In fact anything I do bring to it needs the Holy Spirit's help! So I want to start each day remembering I can't earn God's favour through works (although I say I know this - I'm sure that I often forget!) and that His help to be a good Mum to Anna and Hope - and to be humble with them when I mess up. Saying sorry to your kids is humbling indeed! And I look forward to a day when they can talk and we can tell them about Jesus:)