I just love The Message paraphrase of Romans 8:38-39. “Absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”
Doesn’t it paint just the most tender and beautiful picture? Jesus has embraced us! And nothing – no sin, no shortcoming, no shame – can wedge its way into that embrace. Jesus holds us THAT TIGHTLY in His embrace.
Friend, believing this is so essential to us parenting in freedom, because our ability to lead our children in the freedom of Christ is profoundly influenced by our own acceptance of how He loves US. And not just the lovable parts of us but all of us, all of the time. Not just when we are trusting Him and pulling this parenting thing off pretty well. But when we are messing up again, losing our patience again, being unthankful again, doing that “thing” we were determined to stop doing again.
Not long ago I received an email from a mom through my website. And I want to share with you what she wrote. Her email read:
Growing up we thought we won God’s favor by being good and trying to appease Him for all the things we did wrong. I saw God as cruel and critical and expecting me to be perfect. And I assumed He was angry at me because I was not. When I became a mom, I tried to teach my kids that God is love but the truth is, I didn’t believe it myself. I’m just now starting to learn about grace and I want to be able to give my kids grace but I don’t really even know what that means or how to get there.
Maybe your story sounds a little bit like hers. Or maybe your story sounds a little bit more like mine.
I was raised in a very grace-filled home. My father was a preacher and my parents faithfully taught me about the unconditional love of God. So when God saved me at the age of eight years old, I knew that God’s grace was for my salvation. But, what I struggled to accept is that God’s grace is also for my ongoing sin and weakness. I couldn’t believe that God would keep on loving me when I kept letting him down.
I couldn’t believe that God would keep on loving me when I kept letting him down.
In the book of Romans, Chapter 8:38-39 – the apostle Paul writes:
“……nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And yet, I am going to assume I am not the only one who reads a verse like Romans 8:38–39 and still thinks, Surely, it’s not that simple. Surely there is something we bring to the Cross that falls under the “everything but that” category. And you know what we do? We put a but right in the middle of Paul’s assurance.
We read, “Nothing but _________ can separate me from the love of God.” Now, maybe you put one big thing on that line. Or maybe you put several smaller things. Maybe you put both.
We fill in that blank with the “too dirty” things—the things that we believe are so deeply embedded into the fabric of our being that His blood cannot possibly reach, nonetheless wash clean, as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
But friend, Jesus doesn’t offer us a “nothing but _____” kind of love. His love is an “even that” kind of love. So whatever it is that you insert on that “nothing but _____” line, His grace is big enough (Ephesians 1:6–8).
Being the grace-full parent we long to be will begin with allowing the grace of God to fill our own hearts and then overflow into our parenting. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to be intentional in our parenting – we do! – but parenting in freedom starts with living in freedom. Receive His love mama, breathe in grace, and walk in freedom!
This post is a brief excerpt from Jeanie Cunnion’s book, Mom Set Free
Jeannie Cunnion is the author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child and Mom Set Free, and a frequent speaker at women’s conferences and parenting events around the country. Her passion is encouraging women to live in the freedom for which Christ has set us free – a message her own heart needs to be reminded of daily. Jeannie and her husband Mike have four boys who range from teenager to toddler.