Apr 26 2017

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Surprise Parenting (They’ll never see it coming.)

surprise parentingSurprise Parenting (They’ll never see it coming.)

“You didn’t do that before.” My little girl looked at me in surprise. Instead of a lengthy lecture, a punishment, or totally losing it, I told her we were going into my room .  .  .  to pray.

Moments before, I had interrupted her play . . . so we could start our school day. She gave me her best “you ruined my life” look. I felt exasperated. Do we have to do this every morning? She knows we have to do school. I wanted the conflict to stop, but I knew the real issue wasn’t about her needing information. (Lecture happens to be my default response. It’s ineffective, but I return to it naturally.) However, and by God’s grace, this time I saw it for what it was—a heart issue.

Who knows how to handle a little heart? God.

Who knows how to handle my heart? God.

How do we connect with the One who knows our hearts—including our motives and deepest longings? We connect through prayer. We pray the truth about ourselves. We ask him to reveal the truth he knows about us that we’re blinded to.

The answers we need

In the midst of parenting, we need to connect our hearts with our Creator because he holds what we don’t have—the answers.

If you have all the parenting answers, good for you. I don’t. I regularly feel lost in knowing how to parent my children well—I love them dearly, AND they drive me nutso. God is perfectly equipped to give guidance (James 1:5) in navigating the tricky waters of parenting and, at the same time, help me sort through all the ugliness that surfaces because of parenting conflicts.

Does that mean I don’t read good books on parenting or talk with friends and mentors about parenting? Absolutely not. I read. I call and meet with friends. But the biggest choice I can make as a parent is to spend time with God. When I deepen my relationship with God through reading the Bible, pausing to let his words in, and in prayer, I am growing myself to be a better parent. The best parenting advice, no matter how great, will not replace being connected to God.


Connecting with God is the main reason I spend time in PARK. Without praying the truth, I can’t begin asking God what he wants me to do in a stressful situation. PARK is one way I stay grounded.

Pray the truth1 John 5:14

When we sat down on my bed, I told her it was time to pray the truth about herself to God. In that moment, I helped her know how any person can overcome a natural bent toward sin.

If you want to break the chain of sin in your life, start by praying the truth about yourself.

We prayed, and that moment changed our day entirely. No, we didn’t have a perfect day. But we changed our direction and were able to move forward in our day in a healthy, more-whole way.

Surprise Parenting

The surprise comes to both parent and child whenever an old pattern breaks. It’s not that I hadn’t prayed before. It’s that I broke the normal pattern of lecture and/or punishment and surprised us both by responding to our conflict with prayer. Prayer is always a good first choice, but listening to and obeying God is preeminent.

God not only helps us in our moment of need with fresh answers, but he also gives us the grace to act. I need that, don’t you?

What will you do?

Will you surprise your kids today by connecting with God and obeying him? It won’t happen by accident. And with all things, practice makes us better.

Note: My Babycakes posed for this picture. She did her best “you ruined my life” face for the camera. And, I asked her if I could share our story.


Also, this page contains affiliate links*. If you choose to purchase products mentioned on this page, I do benefit—at no extra charge to you. My intention is to bring to your attention products I recommend.

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