28 October, 2015

Broken parents

I need to reread this book that I read two years ago. Parenting two years on is no easier, and in some ways harder. I now have two teenagers and one in the last couple of years of high school (therefore the WHAT NEXT? question looms and assessment matters).

Here is my book review from a couple of years ago (originally posted here).

An admission of brokenness

I've just read a book, The Beauty of Broken, by Elisa Morgan, that's encouraged me in my parenting; and that's pretty rare these days. Its main premise is, as it says on the front cover: There's no such thing as a perfect family.

The author of this book was the president of MOPS International for 20 years. She came from a broken family (divorce and alcoholism) and tried super hard to make her "second family", the family she created when she married and then adopted children, perfect. She bought into the lie that if you have "perfect family values" you will create children that turn out "alright".

The book is the story about how her family didn't "turn out okay". However, it is not just a book about her and the brokenness of her family. She actively encourages her readers by pointing them to God. That he creates beauty out of broken things, that he understands that we're all broken. God loves the broken, and uses the broken.
Gradually I faced the reality that God did not evaluate my  mothering by how perfectly or imperfectly my children developed. Rather, he expected me to address how I influenced my children by how I yielded to his love for me and then acted it out in life. Period. He did not ask me to control their responses, their choices, or their consequences...I could not fix my family—my first family or my second—any more than I could fix myself. I was broken. They were broken. I was to offer myself to God and to allow him to use my best, but still flawed, mothering to shape their development. (Location 906).
How freeing, is that? That doesn't mean I don't have responsibility for how I conduct myself as a parent (and wife, sister, adult daughter), but it does mean that there is a limit on what I am responsible for. How come I struggle with this so much? I'm always telling my youngest son he's not responsible for his older brothers. I'm often telling the boys that they're only responsible for their reaction to their brothers, not changing how their brother's react...listen to yourself Wendy!

Here's another good quote from the book:
Parenting, like all tasks under the sun, is intended as an endeavor of love, risk, perseverance, and above all, faith. It is faith rather than formula, grace rather than guarantees, steadfastness rather than success that bridges the gap between our own parenting efforts, and what, by God's grace, our children grow up to become. (This actually comes from Leslie Leyland Fields, , "The Myth of the Perfect Parent," Christianity Today, january 2010, 27.)
No parent, no matter how dedicated, expert, present, and loving, can produce a perfectly healthy and happy adult. Such a feat is simply not within our power.
That's scary and releasing at the same time. Scary, because there are no guarantees about the sorts of adults my kids will turn out to be. Releasing, because I'm not responsible for their choices. My success as a parent doesn't depend on them making good choices. God doesn't judge me by that.

I definitely recommend this book. It's been a great encouragement to me as I push onwards with these imperfect human beings God's given me, this imperfect mum, to parent.

Disclaimer: A complimentary electronic copy of this book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Books http://BookSneeze.com. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Thanks Wendy, I needed that today