For this Lent, I have been reading the words of our Early Church Fathers and I have also been doing a Beth Moore Bible Study called, “Believing God: Experiencing a Fresh Explosion of Faith”. I think this is one of the best Bible studies, if not the best study, I have ever done. If you like Bible studies and haven’t done this one, I encourage you to check it out.
One thing that Beth Moore mentions in this study is the difference between faith and faithfulness. She writes, “……I conceptualized faith as believing God, while I tended to imagine faithfulness as obediently serving God and keeping His commands. Though faith certainly encompasses serving and obeying God, I am opening my spiritual eyes to the fact that faith is the root of all faithfulness to God. In fact, we might say ultimately, faithfulness – serving and obeying God – is the outward expression of an inward fullness of faith.”
Let’s apply this to parenting for a moment, shall we? I think this is an important part of inner work and personal development in parenting.
Faith makes me think about belief. So what are your beliefs about parenting? If you homeschool, what are your beliefs about homeschooling? Have you elucidated this for yourself and your family? This does take time to figure out, but one must at least make the effort to think about it.
And then, the question becomes, does this faith, do these beliefs that you carry in your heart about parenting translate to what you do every day: are you faithful in the details, in how you make these beliefs reality in your own home?
This is not about perfection. No one is perfect. There are always mistakes and things we wish we didn’t do. There are always times of challenge. There is always learning and growing in parenting. Even if you have been through one particular developmental stage with five children, that sixth child is an individual or his or her own and it will be different. So perhaps part of faithfulness is also forgiveness. Forgiveness when you do something the way you didn’t want to do. Forgiveness for being human. Forgiveness for being fallible.
But perhaps faithfulness in the details also means having a plan, having a vision, and most of all, overcoming our own inertia and weakness. For me personally, for that, I have to ask my Creator. We have to WANT to not be stagnant, we have to want to grow and change. We have to work, and tweak things as we go along and discover.
I think the other part of faith in parenting is having a self –confidence that you can indeed be faithful and show these beliefs concretely in real life and in your real actions. How many times have we heard, “Actions speak louder than words”? That is truth.
How confident are you as a parent? You are the expert of your own family. I believe there are some essential truths to work with in childhood development and parenting, but the application may look different depending on the family. Perhaps thinking about your beliefs in parenting and how your life would look if you could strive to be true to what you believed would lead you to increased authenticity and confidence. Perhaps this would lead you to stop comparing yourself.
So, what do you believe about parenting? About homeschooling? How do you find forgiveness for yourself? How do you use your beliefs to be more confident in your parenting?