Finding Freedom as a Grace Based Mom Part 1 – Jeannie Cunnion


my boys were in the backyard fighting
and I went to my oldest son then I I kind of lifted him up and I looked at
his eyes and cuz he was hurting his little brother and I said who does
something like that and he looked at me with tears in his eyes and he said I
guess someone like me welcome to the focus on the family
broadcast helping families thrive hey Jeannie welcome back to February you
know it’s true I mean this is such a topic and you’ve written this great book
mom set free every mom’s going yes yes all right well and what’s great about
the way you’ve written this and the way you’re expressing it is you lived it you
were that mom that had high expectations things quickly became difficult for you
we want to cover all of that but in the parenting space particularly what begin
to happen when a plus B didn’t equal C yeah I think there’s a formula that we
believe works which is good parenting in good kids out and I joke about how you
know going into motherhood I thought you know how hard could this be
right I had a wonderful mom and dad I have a background in Social Work I’d
actually done some parenting training before I became a mom I read several
books you know did my fair share of highlighting you were good I was so I
went into motherhood going how hard can this be
and then I had children then I had kids I had three boys in five years and I was
like this is really really hard let me ask you to really cement it in the
hearts of the moms listening and for us dads when we say this what is the hard
part I mean you did it you prepped yourself you came from a great Christian
home you were sounds like a very good young lady a teen daughter you probably
did all the right things and are many of the right things let’s not but you know
probably a good student all those kinds of things and then you become the mom
and it doesn’t quite work that way what is the hard part I think the hard
part which I discovered several years into parenting is that God doesn’t just
work through us to grow our children he works through our children to grow us
now why is that that is absolutely right I biggest grin on my face because that
is what’s happening that’s what’s happening
and parenting is designed to deepen our dependence on God that’s what it does it
deepens our dependence on God in the book you remind moms about that verse in
2nd Corinthians 12 about God’s grace and power what exactly do we need when we
feel weak I mean what what is it that we’re looking for in that weak moment
we’re looking for strength obviously I mean but the the thing is I think is
mom’s one of the biggest things I hear mom say is I don’t feel like I’m good
enough that is the number-one struggle when I speak when I meet friends I just
don’t feel like I’m good enough I’m not measuring up I’m not good enough for my
kids and what’s so interesting about that because I really struggle with that
too and I have this isn’t something I’ve mastered him and I have to keep going
back to the good news of the gospel every day to be reminded of my freedom
in Christ but you know if you think about what God says no where did we find
God saying hey Jeanie hey Jim hey John I’m gonna need you to be enough for your
kids he doesn’t say that he says my grace is enough I am enough and my grace
is sufficient for you you know Paul talks about if if we even
had a shot at being enough then Christ died for nothing and so this is really
good news that can radically change our parenting God didn’t call us to be
enough for our kids but in that emotional and spiritual battle that goes
on in a mother’s heart and mother’s head describe that tug of war though I mean
the scripture it’s so interesting because the scripture is pretty plain
yes he’s saying my grace is sufficient for you yes and then we say no it’s not
right you don’t know my life you don’t know my parenting battles look your
grace cannot cover this I mean that’s really what we’re saying yes and what’s
so interesting is Paul’s response to when God said that birth when Jesus said
that was well now I can boast about my weaknesses now your strength can be
magnified in me but as a mom what I say is no Lord I don’t want to be weak I
want to be strong I want to be awesome and so it’s a it’s a humbling of okay I
don’t have to be perfect for my kids I don’t have to be their Savior
called me to be their parent and the opportunity for me is to point them to
Jesus Jeannie I you know just to press you on that so that we can have some
practical handles yeah for moms listening right now that’s so
common you have pinterest you’ve got social media here’s my kids 6th birthday
party isn’t it perfect mm-hmm I mean that’s what you’re trying to project
what does it look like practically speaking to be weak as a parent what
does that look like is it messy or it’s so messy
in what emotionally how do we move to a comfortableness with that when everybody
else around us including our Christian friends yeah are really the Pinterest
parent there it’s everything perfect my kids the quarterback you know my
daughter plays the flute at 3 there’s this constant competition about how good
my kid is and how well-behaved they are how do you get that reflects on our idea
well right how do you get comfortable going that’s nice
my kids kind of average right now yeah I mean that sounds like you’re not doing
your job yeah no I love that you ask that because that’s really the whole
premise of mom set free is we have to know our own freedom in Christ as moms
we have to know who we are in Jesus we have to know the way that he loves us
and welcomes us on our worst day as moms so whether we crush it and we get it all
right or whether we’ve had our worst day as moms and and we’ve thrown our own
temper tantrum and we’ve used shame instead of grace and and we’ve
disciplined in anger we have to know the grace that is available to us as moms we
have to know the way that Jesus welcomes us when we run to him and repent and
receive His mercy and he gives us a fresh start
the next day Jeanne there’s that saying and I don’t know who to attribute it to
but you can only give what you’ve received so to speak to that with that
mom that’s constantly in the shame mode and I’m not good enough and I’m terrible
there are a lot of different inputs your husband could be doing that and may have
been your upbringing your own mother and father may have given you that sense
that you don’t you’re not adequate yeah he’s speak to that turmoil in the mom’s
mind how can she break that cycle of I’m I’m ok God loves me yeah I think you’re
right you know what we live in is what we live out so
as a mom when I was living in shame over mistakes of my past which I brought into
my marriage with Mike and it overflowed into my parenting and one of the big
things for me as I discovered how much shame I was parenting with and it was
because I was still carrying shame from things in my past that I hadn’t received
God’s mercy and forgiveness for because I think my perspective was Jesus took my
sin on the cross but I have to carry my shame that’s how I was living he paid
for my sin but I have to carry my shame I have to in some sense pay for it and
Jesus is so clear no I I bore your sin and your shame and I really I want you
to surrender that to me I want you to live in freedom from that I want you to
know the depths of my grace for you that he died for us while we were still
sinners I want you to receive that because it will overflow if you are
living in shame as a mom and I hear this her mom’s all the time I write a story
about it in the book where she says I’m living in shame therefore I parent with
shame and then I in its suspicious cycle and I just feel worse and worse and she
wanted to be set free and it’s a saying lord help me see myself through your
eyes of grace help me receive that grace and parent with it which is exactly what
we want to do today yeah next time is to give moms hope that they can break that
cycle you’ve made a list of quote things I wish I had known before becoming a mom
unquote what is that list give us an idea you know the list is so much about
just how hard mothering can be and how God really does want to grow us through
that mothering that this is really an opportunity for us to deepen our
dependence on God I think there is also you know I think moms need permission to
say this is hard you were talking about it earlier you know there’s this we feel
like there’s this pressure in our society to look like we’re pulling it
off and really what another mom wants is to sit down with another woman who can
say this is hard isn’t it and I need Jesus and I make a lot of mistakes and I
need a lot of do-overs and – and that’s not to celebrate our weakness our sin
but it’s an opportunity for moms to gather together in
say his grace really is sufficient for us and what does that look like in our
in our daily parenting here’s one that’ll connect with mom’s listening the
way you illustrated the hide-and-seek game book it was funny when I read as I
laughed out loud it is it’s so practical what do you do yeah you play hide and
seek with your kids and you say you know you guys go hide I’ll count to 500 and
then I’ll come find you right the goal being the goal being I just need 30
seconds alone 30 seconds find a really good spot permission to to
say that you know to recognize that they do not have to they do not have to be
perfect it’s yeah but it is a pressure it is absolutely there are so many
pressures I mean moms are under so many pressures and we we list I list those
out in the book because I think we’re not even acknowledging a lot of those
pressures and then they stay in the dark and if we don’t bring them into the
light and expose them and then speak God’s truth and promises over them then
they just stay in the dark and shameful earth and mom’s heart Jeannie Kenyon is
our guest on focused on the family your host is Jim Daly and you can get her
book mom set free find relief from the pressure to get it all right and a CD or
download of our conversation at focus on the family calm / radio or call 800 the
letter a and the word family and we can tell you more and Jeannie I’d like to
know what does it look like for me not to put my anxieties on my kids given
what you just said they’re right what so I think you know we talked about how our
kids what we model has a profound impact right on our kids are watching us and so
if they are seeing us as parents finding our significance in success or failure
they’re watching that but if they see parents whose significance is in Jesus
whose souls are satisfied in Jesus and they see the fruit of freedom in our own
lives that also has a profound impact on them
so as a mom if I’m chasing significance and how well I’m doing is a mom or how
I’m doing is a writer or how am I even doing is a spouse versus I am who God
says I am I start the day and I end the day knowing that my identity is firmly
anchored in the goodness and the perfection of Jesus Christ covering me
and I am free to live out of that identity they see that and it produces
fruit in our lives the fruit of the Holy Spirit
jeanny a mom might be saying boy this woman sounds like she just has it all
together she’s well I’m gonna put you on the spot a little because I know in the
book you you did a great job of being real you share a story about a bad day
that you had a parent but in that case she made you know I was again I was
laughing because the mistakes that you confess that you made that day describe
that day this will hook so many more the one where you were caught saying unkind
things about someone else’s gossip and you were spewing about that my words not
yours and then you weren’t modeling how to love your enemies and then you yelled
at the boys but you there I don’t want to continue to incriminate you no it’s
okay you know it’s ironic when we yell at our kids to stop yelling we are and
so I you know at the end of that I said to one of my boys the child I was with I
said son I’m really sorry I’m really sorry about the way I just behaved I let
my sinful nature win and I got angry and I’m really sorry will you forgive me and
my son said of course mom I forgive you and and then he said but mom I don’t
think you have a sinful nature I think you have a loving nature huh but it
opened up the door to such an awesome conversation because in that moment I
was able to remind my son again that I am free to confess my sinful nature
because I know I have a sinless Savery Savior who has me covered yeah and so
this is the kind of freedom we can give our kids even when we mess up every day
it’s to be able to say I know that Jesus Christ has me covered and I want you to
be able to live in that freedom too and that’s not a license to sin because if
you if you really have experienced the grace of God
you know that it doesn’t make you want to break the rules or break God’s heart
with your sin it really gratitude breeds obedience gratitude makes you the grace
of God breeds this gratitude that really makes you want to live an appreciation
for what he’s done for you Jimmy I appreciate that and it’s it’s a neat the
way the Lord gave you an opportunity to kind of have some closure we’ve had
moments where you know what the kids go to bed angry yes and I go to bed angry
and it doesn’t wrap up so well yeah what are we do in those moments I’ve had
those two or days when I’ve sent them off to school you know where they’ve
sent them off exactly and I may or may not have gone back to the school and
taken one child out to get ice cream because I felt so guilty for the way I
behaved but I think it’s it’s never too late for grace and I think that’s a
really important message for the mom who just went to bed angry and the kids went
to bed angry or for the moms that I hear from whose kids are twenty or thirty and
they’re saying it’s too late for me now and it’s never too late for grace and I
tell a story in the book about a young woman who was telling me about how she
had a pretty tumultuous upbringing and even though she was raised in a
Christian home it was very complicated and she and her three siblings in their
20s one night their parents had everybody over for dinner and they sat
them down and they basically said we want to repent we want to ask for your
forgiveness we’re discovering things about God’s grace that we never
understood before we did the best we could do and we raised you under the law
and we wish we had given you more grace and we’re really sorry and we want to do
better from this day forward yeah and she talked about being one of the most
healing beautiful days in her life and how that impacted her going forward as a
mom showing her how her parents ability and willingness to say I’m sorry was so
healing and really transforming in her life well and I you know I think
temperament plays a part in this in the parenting temperament where you have and
often we marry opposites so you might have this in your in your relationship
with your spouse Jeanne and I tend to go this way and you know she’s a biochemist
she’s pretty exacting and I you know I’m a marketing guy it
was my background my business degree etc but the point of that is that one
hundred million dollar question you know grace can be made cheap and then
expectations are reduced and children will rise to the expectation but there
is kind of that Green Zone in that balance between grace and truth and
responsibility and then it begins to get yellow on both sides if I can describe
it visually like that like if you have too much legalism you’re gonna hurt your
child and if you have too much laxness too much grace it will hurt the child as
well so where is that balance found how do you strive to hit that middle ground
that’s the healthy green where Jesus wants us to live yeah I think it’s
having a an understanding of what grace actually is right so you know one time I
was disciplining my boys and my son Brandon said mom just give us grace
please he’s really articulating though that common misunderstanding of what
grace is because what he’s saying is you know cut us some slack you know just let
it go forget happened and let’s move on and if we understand what grace actually
is then it really empowers us in our parenting because grace is the
unconditional love of God given to us in Jesus Christ right and so if we apply
that to our parenting then the question is not the question is how do I we’ve
the unconditional love of God into the way that I establish my authority into
the way that I discipline my kids into the way that I train them so it’s not a
Grace and parenting is not a free pass to do as you please right grace and
parenting is everyday I have to ask the question how do I reflect the Father’s
heart and the way I leave my kids today yes and I get that wrong all the time
right and there’s grace for that too so I what I’m hearing you say and I want
to make sure the listeners are hearing this yeah you know there is firmness in
the boundaries and those kinds of things there’s consequences with kids actions
and what they do but the way you deliver that come let me talk to you about this
this is what I see happening yeah your grades seem far lower than what you’re
able to achieve how are we gonna work together to overcome that right because
you were not defined by your grades it doesn’t change my love for you but I’m
calling you to a higher standard because I know what God has created you to do
and what he’s equipped you to be able to do and so it’s yeah it’s this very um
God disciplines those he loves he gets us boundaries for her good you know to
to lead us in the fullness and abundant life and so again that’s just another
opportunity for us to think oh that God disciplines those he loves he’s given us
boundaries to help us flourish yeah and that’s what I want to do as a mom but I
think we have it’s important to articulate that to our kids because
there’s a language of grace and there’s a language of shame right they’re very
distinct languages give me words to help me understand that what does what are
the two sound like yeah so language of grace is I give you boundaries because I
am for you and because I love you or I’m disciplining you out of my love for you
and it doesn’t it’s you know it’s it’s reflecting the heart of God how would
the Lord discipline those he loves shame has a language which I’ve used and I’ve
had to repent of with my boys is how could you do something like that it goes
to their character it could it equates what they did with who they are how many
times I have to tell you how can you keep getting this wrong and so and I and
I’ve used those words and and there was a very precise moment with one of my
boys when the Lord convicted me about that and changed my parenting because my
boys were in the back yard fighting and I went to my oldest son and I I kind of
lifted him up and I looked at his eyes and because he was hurting his little
brother and I said who does something like that and he looked at me with tears
in his eyes and he said I guess someone like me so you were defining him I was
defining him and we’ve all done it making him feel like you know worthless
well I guess someone like me and that was an invitation in that moment from
Jesus to say I’m sorry you know who else does something like that me I need Jesus
too I sent every day to and we can go to the cross alongside each other
it’s a radical difference you know that alongside parenting it’s that I call it
the broken together approach you need Jesus I need Jesus Jeannie we can
understand we could be book smart we can be bible smart and know that to be true
but why will some parents and I’ll throw dads in here as well because we’re all
guilty of this to some degree why do we go to that well pretty consistently to
shame what what is it in us that is creating that need to say you’re no good
and you need help I mean we don’t say it that bluntly but that’s what we’re
saying when we say you know who would do that right and again I appreciate your
openness but we’re all guilty of it if we’re honest yeah we’ve said something
like that as a parent you know Bobby would never do that why did you do it
yeah but what’s driving that behavior in us as parents to go to the bucket of
shame yeah I think we touched on it a little bit which is what we live in is
what we live out I think it’s just our constant need for Jesus and refinement
and growing in his Grace’s parents like we’re never gonna get this all right you
know we’re gonna we’re gonna grow and God’s gonna continue to shape us through
our kids but we’re gonna stumble every day and it’s gonna be a reminder of our
beautiful need for him but there’s you know I mean we it’s an invitation to
view it that way yeah it really is because I think a lot of times we
understand growing in our relationship with God is getting better and stronger
right that sanctification but in a lot of ways it’s really about growing in our
awareness of our need for the Holy Spirit to keep shaping us and molding us
is like me yeah and this comes in his likeness and this is all the way back to
the point you made earlier that what is the what does God intend for us as
parents in the role of parenting what do we need to learn we’re right on it this
is the stuff which is to learn His grace and you’re gonna see it in parenting I
mean if we said it many times God is a God of teenagers I mean all of us
misbehave yeah we do things that displease him and then hopefully we’re
mature enough in him to say lord I blew it please help me not to do that again
that’s the Christian life yeah but that is the Lord too he’s got a lot of
teenagers he’s dealing with let’s end here on the hind
and I want to come back next time and talk about your tragedy and how you
begin to become more aware through a broken marriage that happened early in
your life but let’s end on the high note speak to the importance of family warmth
studies have shown this I was really encouraged by this reading the material
but say it why is family warmth what is it and why
is it so important yeah Kara powell talks about this it’s from fuller dr.
powell good friend she’s been on the project yeah she’s amazing and and what
her research showed and I find this so encouraging is that family warmth is the
number one faith transmitter to our kids you got to catch that everybody right
this is critical family warmth is the number one factor in transmitting our
faith to our kids did she give the adjectives that go with that what is a
household that has family warmth look like she talks about how it’s not just
it’s in our tone it’s in our body language cuz I can use really sweet
words but I can have a tone that tells you something different you know or a
face that says you know I’m not buying what I’m saying
and so the invitation because as parents who want to nurture and disciple our
child’s faith we get very focused on the things we can do and that’s important
you know reading God’s Word together memorizing Scripture doing all of those
really important things that plant seeds but the question is are we doing it in
an environment that has family warmth and if somebody listens to that goes no
we’re not I want them to be encouraged because here’s the thing it’s never too
late to change the thermostat in your home to think about how can we change
the thermostat so that our home is a place of warmth that is so good jeanny
this whole discussion it’s got me and I’m looking forward to tomorrow when we
can come back and talk about this again your great book mom set free find relief
from the pressure to get it all right who wouldn’t want that resource a great
title and hopefully we have helped many moms and some dads glimpse the light at
the end of the tunnel kind of looking at the big picture which we often talk
about and for you the listener I don’t know how much more strongly I
could recommend Jeannie’s book other than this is one of those resources as a
parent you need it and we all need it and to read it and digest it and we’d
love to send you a copy of that today and you know a great way to do that is
for a gift of any amount because that helps us you know prepare these
broadcasts pay for the airtime do our marriage ministry counseling efforts
when you purchase the book with a gift of any amount all the proceeds go to do
that it doesn’t go into anybody’s pocket so help us in that way and we’ll say
thank you by sending along a copy of Gina’s book yeah you’ll find great
encouragement in it so you can donate and get that book mom set free at Focus
on the Family comm slash broadcast or call 811 and the word family Jeannie
this has been great let’s come back and cover some more of
this will you do that thank you good to have you hey I’m John fuller and thanks
for watching get more info about focus over here and more from our guests over
there and be sure to subscribe to our channel as well you

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